13 March, 2013

EPBC Act approval responsibilities

This week a senate committee confirmed the Federal Department of Environment was backing away from handing over responsibilities for biodiversity approvals to the Sates.

However, the committee did not support a Greens bill to prevent national environment laws from being handed over to the states.

The committee notes the Commonwealth acknowledged that 'significant challenges emerged in developing approval bilateral agreements that provide consistency for business and assurance to the community that high standards will be made and maintained' and said it 'will introduce legislative reforms to progress its response to the Hawke review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to further streamline and strengthen environmental regulation'.  

The opposition still supports delegation of environmental powers to the States.

The committee report, the Coalition’s additional comments and the Greens dissenting report are available here.

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