The Federal Government's pledge to streamline the approval process used for mining and other projects could lead to poor environmental outcomes.
That's the view of ANU Environmental Law Professor James Prest, regarding possible changes to the Environmental Protecton and Biodiversity Conservation act.
The Act came to public attention when the previous Labor government amended legislation to include a 'water trigger', requiring coal seam gas projects to consider their effects on water resources.
Professor Prest said if state governments are accredited to make approvals rather than the Commonwealth government, Australia's international environmental obligations might be compromised.
"What they're trying to do is tread this difficult compromise between streamlining the legislation and at the same time maintaining high environmental standards," he said.
"I'd say there are some inherent difficulties there.
"I'm not in favour of pointless duplication," he said.
"But as a matter of logic if we just allow a state or territory government to do whatever it likes and have no standards at all in relation to its approval process, then it's a problem," he said,
"The problem is that if some state governments - for example Queensland.
"They've encated this legislation under the blunt heading green and red tape reduction act, and they're already trying to trim down and streamline environmental assessment processes," he said.
"If the Federal government do that as well, then there's a little bit of a difficulty in working out which provisions of any law are going to assist in terms of us meeting our international obligations."