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Statutory Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth)

The submission to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment in response to the second statutory review (the Review) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (the EPBC Act or Act), including the Review discussion paper was prepared by the Law Council.

The Law Council hopes to see real and meaningful change as a result of this Review. It strongly supports bipartisan commitments at the federal level to working through the Review recommendations and progressing legislative amendments through Parliament. Similarly, there must be a long term commitment to developing any policy and procedural improvements recommended by the Review.

The Law Council further calls upon the Commonwealth to maintain its essential leadership role in the legislative framework for environmental protection and biodiversity conservation in Australia.

The Law Council does not support the repeal or replacement of the EPBC Act at this time. It is concerned that none of the options available to remake or replace the EPBC Act is guaranteed to produce legislation that is less complex or lengthy. Moreover, efforts to do so may detract from existing opportunities to make immediate legislative improvements and arrest the continued decline in biodiversity and ecosystem health. Instead of developing a new legislative regime, the Law Council supports improving the EPBC Act’s implementation, including greater transparency of decision-making, and more rigorous enforcement of its provisions.

You can read the full submission below.

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