Australia’s peak environment protection laws ‘not fit to address current or future environmental challenges’
SYDNEY, July 20 2020 - A review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act has found the legislation is ineffective and unless changed will continue to pose serious threats to the nation, an interim report has found.
Chair of the review, Grame Samuel, said the Act was “not fit to address current or future environmental challenges” and “does not enable the Commonwealth to protect and conserve environmental matters that are important for the nation.”
Greenpeace Australia Pacific Campaigner Jonathan Moylan said “Species extinction, habitat destruction, and the repeat mass bleachings of the Great Barrier Reef are monuments to the failure of the Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act.”
“However, as it stands the government’s response to the review will fail to stem and indeed exacerbate the tide of threats to biodiversity, air, water and the climate. It is extraordinary that after a summer of deadly bushfires we still have no mention of the biggest threat to biodiversity – climate change – in our main national environmental law,” he said.
“We need a new generation of environmental laws that are effective in protecting nature, governed by an independent, transparent and accountable regulator and access to justice.”
The report acknowledges that compliance has failed and that penalties for multinational corporations that breach environmental rules amount to less than council parking fine revenue
“Crucially, the report also recognises that false claims about the courts being misused to slow down projects are baseless and there need to be better mechanisms of accountability,” Mr Moylan said.
Despite the failure of state governments to adequately protect biodiversity, the federal government appears to be planning to accelerate the shifting of environmental responsibilities to the states.
Communications Campaigner Martin Zavan
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