The federal government has been trying to ‘reform’ the environmental assessment laws for major projects. They have now tabled amended legislation, which was approved by the House of Representatives in September.
As we know, when the federal government talks about ‘Cutting Green Tape’, it is code for ‘let business do what it wants’. In the real world, the new legislation will mean large resource companies being given the green light to cut corners and get their projects waved through by government.
The government has tabled legislation which will profoundly weaken the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (or EPBC Act).
Faced with opposition in parliament, a new Senate Inquiry into the EPBC legislation that was passed by the House of Representatives in September has been established. While the ALP moved an amendment for the reporting deadline to be in February next year, it was not successful. We only have 2 days to put submissions in.
The inquiry has an extremely short turnaround time, with submissions due by CoB this Wednesday 18 November, and a reporting deadline of November 27th.
Please write a quick submission.
And make sure you put this in the SUBJECT line if you email:
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Streamlining Environmental Approvals) Bill 2020
Key messages regarding this inquiry and timeframe are:
State that you wish to make a submission regarding the EPBC Act.
- Say that you think this is an extremely poor process.
- Legislative reform should not be rushed through prior to the release and consideration of the final report of the Samuel Review of the EPBC Act
- Any EPBC legislation amendments should include an independent regulator and strong national environmental standards, put together as a package to go to Parliament
- Any new national environmental standards should be made available for public scrutiny before being put to Parliament.
- Establishing this committee to have hearings and report in only two weeks can only be seen as being a box ticking exercise, and does not enable proper scrutiny or accountability.
- The Government should publicly release the Final Report of the EPBC review before any further discussion is undertaken.
- Urge the Government to bring forward a full package of reforms to be considered by Parliament together, including a full suite of strong legally enforceable National Environmental Standards; an independent regulator for compliance and enforcement; and the robust accountability and transparency requirements for government decision making.
It is essential that we show strong public interest and disapproval of the rushed process by generating lots of submissions. Please consider sharing this with your friends, family and work mates.
Thanks for taking action: if enough of us do it, it will have an impact.
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