Review supports reform for environmental laws

28 January 2021

The Morrison Government has today released Professor Graeme Samuel’s review of Australia’s Environment Laws which calls for significant reform of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC).

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said that the Government was committed to working through the full detail of the recommendations with stakeholders.

“Professor Samuel AC has put forward far-reaching recommendations aimed at delivering a sensible and staged process of change, and it is important to canvass these fully as we confirm our reform agenda,” Minister Ley said.

“This is a process that will take some time to complete, as Professor Samuel has flagged, and it is important that our legislation is fit for meeting the challenges facing our natural environment.”

“As outlined in our response to Professor Samuel’s interim report, the Commonwealth is committed to national standards, to a single touch approval process, rigorous assurance monitoring for bilateral agreements and the modernisation of indigenous cultural heritage protection.”

In accordance with the position of the National Cabinet on December 11, the Morrison Government will begin laying the framework for change by progressing single touch approval legislation through the Senate. 

“All state and territory leaders agreed the immediate priority was to implement single touch approvals by passing legislation to streamline approval processes and to develop national environmental standards reflecting the current requirements of the EPBC Act,” Minister Ley said.

“The National Cabinet also agreed further phases of reform would build on these streamlining efforts and address any further changes and improvements, including to environmental standards, taking into account the recommendations of Professor Samuel.”

Professor Samuel’s report: