New Ground | Expert Environmental Consultants in Queensland

Have Your Say: EPBC Act Revisions Deadline 30 March 2024

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (the Department) is currently seeking public feedback on proposed amendments to Australia’s environmental laws, with submissions open until 30 March 2024. In an effort to inform and engage the public, the Department has released a suite of materials detailing the nature and scope of these proposed reforms. Among these materials is the “Nature Positive Plan,” which serves as a cornerstone document outlining the government’s approach in response to the recommendations made by the Samuel Review of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.

The Nature Positive Plan lays out an ambitious framework aimed at achieving significant environmental conservation milestones. Central to these reforms is the goal of protecting 30% of Australia’s terrestrial and marine environments by the year 2030. Additionally, the plan proposes the creation of a nature repair market, the establishment of an independent Environment Protection Agency (EPA), and the fostering of partnerships with First Nations people to include the development of dedicated cultural heritage legislation.

A critical aspect of the proposed reforms is the introduction of National Environmental Standards. These standards aim to clearly define the environmental outcomes that the reforms seek to achieve, providing a foundation for future environmental law. The initial set of standards will focus on matters of national environmental significance, First Nations engagement and participation in decision-making, community engagement and consultation, regional planning, and environmental offsets.

To facilitate a comprehensive understanding of the proposed amendments, the Department has made available various resources, including outcomes from stakeholder consultations conducted in October and December 2023, public webinars, and an “EPBC Act reform” page on its website. These resources offer invaluable insights into the proposed legislative changes and their expected impacts on Australia’s environmental landscape.

Stakeholders and interested parties are encouraged to review the Nature Positive Plan and other available materials to fully grasp the implications and rationale behind the government’s proposed environmental reforms. The Department’s open call for submissions represents a critical opportunity for public involvement in shaping Australia’s future environmental policy landscape.

Information about the proposed reforms and location for provision of feedback can be found at here.

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