NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell: "As usual with Labor, all that spin was simply false". Photo: Jonathan Ng
NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell rejected a deal from Kevin Rudd on the eve of the election to cut green tape for business, Labor has revealed.
Mr O'Farrell launched a political attack on Mr Rudd in Parliament this week, accusing him of abandoning negotiations with NSW to streamline environmental approvals for business.
The push to cut duplication between state and federal systems was in response to business complaints that duplication was increasing project costs and delays.
Mr O'Farrell has been lobbying for the reform for two years, and said he hoped Mr Rudd's talk about kick-starting the economy would lead to a breakthrough.
''As usual with Labor, all that spin was simply false,'' Mr O'Farrell told Parliament. He said Mr Rudd had prioritised a Greens preference deal over helping business. Mr O'Farrell said he would endorse Tony Abbott's green tape policy instead.
But Fairfax Media has been told a deal was put to Mr O'Farrell in the days before the election was called, and Mr Rudd had hoped to sign-up NSW before he visited the Governor-General.
Federal Environment Minister Mark Butler said: ''The Prime Minister put a proposal to Mr O'Farrell prior to the caretaker period aimed at cutting green tape, but unfortunately Mr O'Farrell declined to sign up. The proposal would have seen a significant reduction in overlap and duplication.''
The Rudd deal proposed a single gateway to apply for environmental approvals, cutting out significant duplication of paperwork but retaining separate state and federal government decision making at the end.