Environmental Legislation in Australia

Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act is under review. This is Australia’s most important legislation protecting the environment, yet major flaws are evidenced in the review process. This Act is important to all of us because it provides protection for our environment, biodiversity, and heritage. One of the main objectives of the Act is to protect our designated ‘Matters of National Environmental Significance’. These include our nationally-threatened species and ecological communities, our world and national heritage places including indigenous heritage, our wetlands and water resources, and our marine areas including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

We are calling on the Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Sussan Ley, to address the following issues:

1) The review panel is lacking anyone who has scientific expertise or expertise in environmental law. Also, it is also important to ensure that panelists do not demonstrate any potential conflicts of interest, such as with the petroleum and mining industries.

2) The discussion paper does not directly address the big challenges of our time such as climate change, bushfires, and mass extinction of species.

3) The current COVID-19 pandemic has made it very difficult for people to attend to the discussion paper and make submissions. Also, people will not have an opportunity to present to the panel in person whilst the restrictions continue. Therefore, the review process must be extended (including timeline for submissions) until the pandemic restrictions have eased. The extension to the timeline must be publicly advertised.

To see up to date information on the review, please click here.

Petition Updates:

June 1st 2020

What is the EPBC Act?

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) is the most important piece of environmental legislation in Australia which covers heritage protection and biodiversity conservation.

The objectives of the EPBC Act are to:

  • Provide for the protection of the environment, especially matters of national environmental significance
  • Conserve Australian biodiversity
  • Provide a streamlined national environmental assessment and approvals process
  • Enhance the protection and management of important natural and cultural places
  • Control the international movement of plants and animals (wildlife), wildlife specimens and products made or derived from wildlife
  • Promote ecologically sustainable development through the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of natural resources
  • Recognise the role of Indigenous people in the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of Australia's biodiversity
  • Promote the use of Indigenous peoples' knowledge of biodiversity with the involvement of, and in cooperation with, the owners of the knowledge.