Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australian State laws have weak environmental standards

Major gaps’: no state meets national environment standards, The Age, Mike Foley, October 4, 2020 —  State and territory governments should make major reforms to their environmental laws and increase compliance regimes to meet the national standards, new research has found.

The findings are revealed in a report from the “Places You Love” alliance of conservation groups, released on Monday, which found “not only does no state or territory law meet national standards, but in some jurisdictions, the environmental protections in state and territory laws have actually been weakened”.

This week the Senate is set to debate the federal government’s bill to hand approval powers for major projects to state governments, in a bid to remove bureaucratic duplication and speed-up project development to boost the economy.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley has pledged that any changes to The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act will not reduce current level of environmental regulation…….

Ms Ley has been criticised by environment groups for rushing her bill through Parliament. It passed the lower house in August and could be enacted as soon as next week – ahead of a major review of the laws by former competition watchdog boss Professor Graeme Samuel, which is due by the end of October.

Professor Samuel said Australia’s “current environmental trajectory is unsustainable”. National laws were “not fit to address current or future environmental challenges”, he said, while for industry they are “ineffective and inefficient”…….

The EPBC Act was enacted in 1999 and created a list of “matters of national environmental significance”, including World Heritage areas, internationally listed wetlands and threatened species. While state laws do include some protections for these matters, federal government has wielded the most powerful protections for the past two decades.

The report found no state or territory legislation met the necessary suite of “national environmental standards required to protect matters of national environmental significance”.

Protection of threatened species habitat from development is one of the most significant functions of the EPBC Act. States run their own offset policies, which can allow developers who destroy protected habitat to mitigate the damage by protecting or restoring habitat somewhere else. State offset standards frequently do not meet national standards…….. https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/major-gaps-no-state-meets-national-environment-standards-20201002-p561iz.html

October 5, 2020 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics

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