September 2016

Reduce paperwork for applicants applying for a 'Hunting Permit: Feral Pigs on a Park or Reserve'

As of September 2015 applicants are no longer required to present their shooters licence at the Permits Office for a photocopy to be taken; now the applicant only needs to write their shooters licence number and date of issue on the application form. In addition previously, nominees (aged 12 to 17) needed to provide their birth certificates to be sighted at the Permits Office and if nominees were not related to primary shooter licence holder a parental consent form was also required.

Permit to work in the road reserve BPAY initiative

Applicants can now pay for their permits to work in the NT Government road reserve via the electronic BPAY system. Previously payments were only processed through the Receiver of Territory Monies. The new payment option can be used 24/7, produces an immediate receipt and saves applicants time.

Emergency Services Public Assistance App for mobile phones and tablets

The app provides the public faster access to a range of Police, Fire and Emergency services. Territorians can access important information relating to the tri-services, especially emergency numbers, flood and cyclone preparedness, and safety and security tips from their mobile.

July 2016

Reduced red tape in the construction and development sector

​The Construction and Development Advisory Council was established to investigate and make recommendations to government on reforms to reduce red tape in the construction and development sector. The council engaged consulting firm Deloitte to assist in the investigation and to prepare a report to government. The Northern Territory Government has approved implementation of the report’s recommendations for reform. Significant progress has been made on implementation since the report was presented to Government, particularly in relation to finalising priority strategic land use plans and area plans.

The reforms fall into three broad areas briefly listed below.

Long term strategic planning to provide regulatory certainty about where and how development can take place, recommendations include:

  • Completion of priority strategic land use plans and area plans.
  • Review of Planning Scheme to enable more permitted uses and to tighten use of Exceptional Development Permits.
  • Finalisation of Uniform Subdivision Guidelines.

Greater consistency in decision making, recommendations include:

  • Review of the National Construction Code.
  • Review of building certification system/processes to reduce inconsistency in advice on compliance with Code.
  • A Building Certifiers Panel has been established to recommend improvements to the building certification process with a focus on reducing delays and improving efficiency.

Customer focused service delivery, recommendations include:

  • Single point of entry for development approvals.
  • Concurrent processes and upfront approvals.
  • Reduce unnecessary forms and paperwork.
  • Greater engagement with WorkSafe NT for education, support and advice.

Read the Construction and Development Advisory Council sector review report here.

New regulations provide regulatory certainty for onshore oil and gas development sector

Petroleum (Environment) Regulations, which came into effect on 6 July 2016, provide increased regulatory certainty for the onshore oil and gas industry in terms of environmental management. The Regulations establish a robust regulatory framework for the management of environmental risks and impacts associated with onshore petroleum exploration and production. Approved Environment Management Plans will become public and legally binding documents that must be complied with.

For more information about the Petroleum (Environment) Regulationsr please go to the Onshore oil and gas website

Survey Approvals Online

From 4 July 2016 private industry surveyors are able to lodge their plans and receive approvals online through the Survey Approvals Online gateway (SAO). The SAO gateway provides electronic notification to the Land Titles Office and provides the ability for development applications to be tracked from application lodgement to title issue. Accepting the lodgement of documents digitally also improves the efficiency of the development process and reduces the amount of data that needs to be entered. The Survey Approvals Online gateway streamlines the land development process with the removal of duplication of effort and paperwork and provides a more efficient capture of re-usable spatial information which is of benefit to all. Streamlining of the approval process will cut construction industry red tape and provides significant benefits for both Government and private sector organisations.

June 2016

Shooters licence extensions

Reduced red tape for hunters, sporting shooters and pastoralists with the option of longer licence terms. Changes made with the Firearms and Weapons Control Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 will see licence durations increase from one or three years to five years; or from five years to 10 years. This will reduce the number of times Territorians are required to undertake licence applications with a corresponding reduction in the processing of licences by the NT Police Force. The Bill aligns with the NT Government’s commitment to the Red Tape Reduction Strategy.

Streamlining planning processes

The Planning Legislation Amendment Bill passed by Parliament in the June sittings has assigned some functions to the Planning Commission that were previously held by the Development Consent Authority as the reporting body. The Planning Commission ensures community engagement occurs at the outset, rather than later on in the planning processes. The Planning Commission conducts extensive community consultation to guarantee local knowledge and insights are properly considered. Given this extensive community consultation undertaken in developing the strategic plans and policies incorporated in the planning scheme, the Planning Commission is the most appropriate body to report on submissions regarding proposals that do not fit into the parameters set by the planning scheme. Like the reporting body, the Planning Commission does not make decisions on applications; but instead it conducts hearings, consults with the community, and prepares a report for the Minister to consider in making a decision on an application.

Reducing red tape for Indigenous essential services

The Planning Legislation Amendment Bill, passed during the June sittings of Parliament, allows leases over Aboriginal land to Indigenous Essential Services Pty Ltd (a wholly owned subsidiary of Power and Water Corporation) to be exempted from planning approval processes. This removes red tape, saves time, and allows for secure tenure over essential services infrastructure.

VET appeals to NTCAT

The Training and Skills Development Act 2016 commenced on 5 July 2016 and repeals the Northern Territory Employment and Training Act. Amongst other things, it removes the need for a separate Appeals and Review Tribunal which has been replaced by an internal review process, and in certain circumstances the NT Civil and Administrative Tribunal review processes can apply. This further consolidates and streamlines the NT’s administrative justice system.

May 2016

Reduced red tape for fisheries

The Fisheries Legislation Amendment Act 2016, due to commence 1 July 2016, removes red tape and administrative burden to provide a simpler and more efficient fishery licensing framework to reduce time, costs, and improve business flexibility.

List of approved operators

Under section 17E of the amended Act a commercial fishing licensee must appoint an approved operator to undertake fishing operations. A list of approved operators will be published by the director and licensees can appoint anyone from this list without further approval from the director. This will reduce red tape and make it easier for license operators to appoint someone to operate their licence. The existing licensing framework is administratively onerous and cumbersome on licence owners and the department. Under the current act, each time a license owner employs a person to work a license on their behalf the director of fisheries is required to approve this action. This amended approach will provide industry with improved certainty and clarity.

Increasing licence terms and clarity around responsibilities

Amendments will remove the unnecessary complexity and ambiguity in the current licensing framework. Under revised section 15 of the Act, industry will be provided with greater certainty by increasing licence tenure to 10 years from the current five. There will also be increased clarity around responsibility of licence holders and more flexibility for their business operations.

Improves regulator performance

Improves regulator performance by establishing a more contemporary regulatory framework with broader penalty options to enable proportionate enforcement responses. Compliance is more efficient through the use of electronic monitoring systems and there is increased flexibility to exempt an activity from requiring a licence.

For more information about fisheries licensing please go to the Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries website.

April 2016

Increasing licence and registration terms for tobacco retailers, property agents, auctioneers and liquor wholesalers from 12 months to up to five years

The Red Tape Reduction (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2016 which was passed by Parliament on 19 April 2016, will from 1 July 2016 provide new licensees the option of one, three or five year terms for: 

  • wholesaler of liquor registration
  • auctioneer licence
  • property agent licence (real estate agents, business agents, conveyancing agents), and
  • the tobacco retail licence.

Existing licensees will have this option upon expiry of their current licence.

This reform is in line with the NT Government’s Red Tape Reduction Strategy which requires extension of licence and permit terms as a way of reducing paperwork and the number of contacts needed with Government.

Increasing licence terms for commercial and private property agents from three years to five years

New commercial and private agents will from 1 July 2016 now have the option of either a three year or five year licence term. Existing licensees will have the option upon expiry of their current licence. These changes will provide these professionals less paperwork allowing more time for business.

Extending the term of the Bore Construction Permit under the Water Act

The Red Tape Reduction (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2016, expected to commence 1 July 2016, amends the Water Act to increase the duration of a Bore Construction Permit from 12 months to two years.

Reduced red tape for courtesy vehicle operators

Effective 1 May 2016, the Department of Transport will exempt courtesy vehicle operators across the Northern Territory from the requirement to hold:

  • operator accreditation, and
  • a Courtesy Vehicle Licence.

To ensure the continued safety of passengers, licencing requirements for drivers providing a courtesy service is unchanged. This means drivers will still be required to hold a current ‘h’ endorsement and CPV ID card.

For more information please visit the Department of Transport website.

March 2016

Northern Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal progress

To further streamline the justice system, the following Local Court reforms will commence on 1 May 2016:

  • The existing Local Court and Court of Summary Jurisdiction, and the jurisdictions for criminal and civil matters will be combined in a single Court to be called the Local Court (under the new Local Court Act 2015). The value of civil claims in the Local Court will be increased to $250,000 and magistrates will be called judges so as to reflect the fact that magistrates perform the functions of judges.
  • Small claims jurisdiction (under the new Small Claims Act 2016) will be transferred from the Local Court to the Northern Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NTCAT) and the jurisdictional limit of small claims will increase from $10,000 to $25,000. The transfer of the small claims jurisdiction to NTCAT should enhance access to justice for minor civil matters and streamline the determination of disputes. NTCAT will also be established as a one-stop shop for disputes under the Cullen Bay Marina Act, the Unit Title Schemes Act, and the Unit Titles Act.

Environmental protection approvals are now online

The Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority has made a new release to the NT EPA Online licensing system to allow businesses to apply online for environment protection approvals. This new online tool will make compliance simpler for businesses. Businesses are able to manage multiple licences and approvals online from the one account, saving business time and improving efficiency. In the Northern Territory, an environment protection approval is usually required to construct, install or carry out works in relation to landfills, listed waste storage, recycling, treatment or disposal and liquefied natural gas (LNG) or methanol premises.

You may access the NT EPA Online user guide on their website. The same steps for lodging an environmental protection licence apply to environmental protection approvals. Create an online account by visiting NT EPA Online.

February 2016

Survey Approvals Online system

The first stage of the Department of Lands, Planning and Environment’s new Survey Approvals Online (SAO) system is now open. Private industry surveyors will now be able to apply for survey data allocation (lot numbers and survey reference number) either through the Development Assessment Online or SAO. The new system saves the private sector time in data entry and reduces duplication of information. Stage two of the project will allow surveyors to lodge their survey data and have it approved online, streamlining the approval process. The Planning part V and Land Titles Office Concurrence processes will be linked to the survey approval in stage two, this is expected to be available mid-2016. The ability for development applications to be tracked from application lodgement to title issue will be a major benefit to the development industry once the system is complete.

For more information please refer to the media release on New online survey approval system cuts red tape for building industry.

WHS Regulation amendments

Amendments to three areas of the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Regulations are focussed on reducing the regulatory burden faced by businesses and workers.

The amendments will commence on 4 April 2016 and will:

  • increase the construction project trigger point value to $500,000
  • make the regulator the sole issuer of construction induction cards in the Northern Territory
  • allow licence and permit holders to notify matters to the regulator via phone, email, mail or in person.

Increase the construction project trigger point value from $250,000 to $500,000

When construction work meets the trigger point, the contractor is required to perform additional work health and safety duties for the project. A national review of the legislation in 2014/15 resulted in a recommendation that the trigger point be increased to $450,000. This is appropriate for other jurisdictions as it will exclude most standard single-dwelling residential construction and allow a buffer for construction costs to increase over the next few years. In the Northern Territory, construction costs are higher than average due in part to the higher cost of raw materials, fuel, transport and labour in the Territory in comparison with other jurisdictions. To allow an equivalent buffer, the trigger point will be set at $500,000 in the Northern Territory. 

Make the regulator the sole issuer of construction induction cards in the Northern Territory

On 4 April 2016, Regulation 325 will be repealed and all general construction induction cards (white cards) issued thereafter will be issued by the regulator. Previously, registered training organisations (RTOs) could enter into an agreement to permit the issue of white cards on behalf of the regulator.

As the regulator will be the sole entity to issue white cards, there will be consistency in record keeping and administration procedures. This will make the replacement of lost, stolen or damaged white cards a much simpler process as the records for all white cards issued will now be held centrally.

Allow licence and permit holders to notify matters to the regulator via phone, email, mail or in person

Holders of various authorisations are obliged to notify the regulator about matters such as a change of residential address for high risk work licence holders; or the theft, loss or destruction of a licence, registration or accreditation document. As of 4 April 2016, these notifications are no longer limited to take the form of a written notice, so could be made via a more convenient means such as telephone, email or in person.

For further information please refer to NT WorkSafe.

Commercial Passenger Vehicle reforms

New initiatives which will reduce red tape will be introduced as part of the Northern Territory Government’s review of the Commercial Passenger Vehicle (CPV) industry:

  • Amend the Commercial Passenger (Road) Transport Act to replace the current nine CPV licence categories with five, namely bus, taxi, minibus, private hire and charter.
  • Regulate that vehicles within each category will have similar market access and will pay the same annual licence fee.
  • Amend regulations to reflect that courtesy vehicles will no longer be regulated as CPVs, however drivers will still be required to meet fit and proper requirements and hold a current CPV identification card.
  • Develop a single body of regulations to simplify the current complex system.

For more information please read the report on the Department of Transport’s website.

January 2016

Reduced red tape for commercial forestry

Planning Regulation 2015 has been amended to include commercial forestry leases as exempt subdivisions. This means leases for the purpose of commercial forestry do not have to obtain planning approval under part 5 of the Planning Act.

Five year wild dog baiting permits from 2016

The new 1080 Wild Dog Management Program streamlines regulations and reduces the administrative burden, ensures pastoralists have the powers they need to get on with the successful management of their properties.

Key components of the new 1080 Wild Dog Management Program include:

  • Replacing the annual permit with a five year baiting permits.
  • Simplified training and accreditation processes, including more flexible onsite training options for those involved in laying baits.
  • Transport and collection of concentrate will be made more flexible, allowing delivery by freight companies.
  • Giving pastoralists more flexibility to coordinate targeted baiting programs with their neighbours.
  • Industry to develop a Code of Practice within 12 months, giving it the autonomy to drive best practice method.

Introduction of a 10-year enterprise permit for crocodile farms

The Saltwater Crocodile Wildlife Trade Management Plan (WTMP) 2016 to 2020 came into effect on 1 January 2016. WTMP reduces the regulatory burden on the Territory crocodile industry by streamlining regulation requirements including the introduction of a 10-year enterprise permit for farms.

Read the media release on the New plan to float Territory crocodile trade.

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