A landmark review of Australia’s environment laws has called for a major overhaul, warning of an “unsustainable” decline in biodiversity.
The Independent Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), published recently, found that Australia’s environment has declined since the laws were introduced.
It urged the federal government to adopt “national standards” to prevent the decline and establish an “independent cop” to oversee the standards.
“The foundation of the report was that there is too much focus on process and not enough focus on outcomes and that should be changed entirely,” Graeme Samuel, the author of the report and former chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
“Australia’s natural environment and iconic places are in an overall state of decline and are under increasing threat.
“The current environmental trajectory is unsustainable.”
Sussan Ley, minister for the environment, accepted the recommendation for national environmental standards but rejected calls for an independent regulator to enforce them.
“Not surprisingly, the statutory review is finding that 20-year-old legislation is struggling to meet the changing needs of the environment, agriculture, community planners and business,” she said in a statement on Monday.
“It is time to find a way past an adversarial approach and work together to create genuine reform that will protect our environment, while keeping our economy strong.” Enditem