Reforms to the EPBC Act offer an opportunity to bend back the curve of biodiversity decline in Australia, while simultaneously simplifying and streamlining assessment and approval processes for business. In our 2020 submission to the EPBC Act review, we describe the full suite of reforms that in our view are needed to effectively deliver the objectives of the Act.
The Bill before the Senate will not achieve this outcome. It seeks to hand over Commonwealth environmental powers to state and territory governments without any enforceable safeguards. The Wentworth Group does not support this Bill for the following reasons:
- The Bill does nothing to improve the protection and conservation of matters of national environmental significance, and evidence suggests it could even weaken existing protections;
- The Bill undermines comprehensive reform of Australia’s national environmental laws; and
- Poor transparency and lack of scrutiny undermine trust in the reform process.
Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists