Environmental law reform: how much is too much?

From Ecos magazine, 18 February 2013:

Would reform of Australia’s key environmental law – referred to by industry as ‘cutting green tape’– safeguard our natural resources for current and future generations, or put them at higher risk?

After Australia introduced the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999, the Australian, state and territory governments undertook to share responsibility for protecting our natural resources. The two levels of government recently began negotiations to reform the Act, providing an opportunity to address issues that some say have undermined the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process in Australia.

The EPBC Act makes the national regulator – the Australian government environment minister, acting via the commonwealth environment department – responsible for protecting eight matters of national and international environmental significance. These include World Heritage sites, wetlands of international importance, migratory species, endangered species and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Under the Act, the Australian government is charged with protecting ‘nationally and internationally important flora, fauna, ecological communities and heritage places’, while state and territory governments are responsible for matters of state and local significance. Read more.

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