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Discussion paper on review of environment protection act released

Professor Graeme Samuel released his discussion paper on the statutory review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) on November 21.

Each decade, the federal government reviews Australia’s environmental law, which began in late October this year.

The independent review includes panel members Bruce Martin, Dr Wendy Craik, Dr Erica Smyth and Professor Andrew Macintosh, along with Samuel who is leading the review.

In a statement, Samuel said the review is a once in a decade opportunity to look closely at the Act and how it operates.

“I have released a discussion paper to start a conversation about the Act, and the changes needed to ensure it is fit to handle current and future environmental challenges.

“The discussion paper is designed to be thought provoking. It canvases potential areas of focus for the review and broad options for reform. These are not settled views, rather, a starting point to stimulate discussion,” Samuel said.

As the independent reviewer, Samuel explained that his job is to listen to the feedback from the community and business and to provide recommendations on how the legislation can be improved.

“The EPBC Act is more than 1000 pages of complex legislation, to which has been added over 400 pages of regulations. This review is a once in a decade opportunity to look closely at the Act, how it operates, and what it is achieving. While it is not a review of environment policy – which is the job of government – this review is a crucial opportunity to make recommendations to ensure that the Act is fit for the future,” Samuel said.

He encouraged anyone interested in the Act and how it operates to provide a submission, and in particular respond to the questions set out in the discussion paper.

“Submissions are a key way for people to express their views, and are an important way to help shape my thinking.” Samuel said.

Submissions are due by close of business February 14.