Tanya Plibersek approves new environmental protection agency to enforce conservation laws

<span>Photo: Mick Tsikas/AAP</span>” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/vcJ7jc8WfhqHbR9EW8RZmQ–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3NjtjZj8WfhqHbR9EW8RZmQ–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3NjtjZj8WfhqHbR9EW8RZ178b/dataglnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3NjtjZj13ZWJw/https://coma759309cenf/https://coma759309cenf”https://src759308379cenf ://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/vcJ7jc8WfhqHbR9EW8RZmQ–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3NjtjZj13ZWJw/https://media.zenfstheguard.coman3983793NjtjZj13ZWJw/https://media.zenfstheguard.coman379379b075293983793</div>
<p><figcaption class=Photo: Mick Tsikas/AAP

The Albanian government has committed to establishing a new environmental protection agency with powers to decide whether developments should continue and to enforce laws designed to protect and restore nature.

Environment minister Tanya Plibersek announced the government’s response to the review of national environmental laws, confirming that the government will introduce new national environmental standards by which conservation, conservation and major development practices will be measured.

It comes two years after former competition watchdog Graeme Samuel forwards his review to the former Morrison government. The coalition never formally responded.

Renewed environmental laws will set the standards that decisions about developments must meet to ensure better protection of threatened species and declining ecosystems, and “define the environmental outcomes we want to achieve,” Plibersek said.

Related: Scientists desperately create the Biodiversity Council to help save Australia’s threatened animals and plants

“Our nature positive plan is a win-win: a win for the environment and a win for business,” he said.

“Our reforms are trying to change the course of this country from destruction of nature to restoration of nature.”

The response, published at an event in Brisbane, includes proposed changes to conservation planning, formerly known as remediation planning, and a new three-tier system to guide where improvement can and cannot occur.

The government also proposed the application of new national standards to regional forest agreements exempted from existing laws and expanded to include all types of water triggering that assesses the impacts of coal and coal seam gas developments on water resources. unconventional gas

However, the government will not be a long-awaited climate trigger and its response has not provided any details on additional government funding to meet environmental restoration and zero new extinctions goals.

Laws will also remove the requirement that, in some cases, environmental offsets must be the “like-like” equivalent of destroyed habitat.

Promised by the government, the EPA will have the power to decide whether developments affecting the environment will move forward, a role formerly held by the federal environment minister. According to the proposed model, the minister would have a calling authority for certain decisions.

The EPA will also have the responsibility to enforce the law and ensure compliance. The government also retained some aspects of the former Morrison government’s proposal to allow state and territory governments to make decisions under national law.

Related: Australia urged to take a leadership role at Cop15 biodiversity summit

The Albanian government has said that instead of collective deregulation, it will allow states to apply for accreditation to make “one-touch” decisions under the law.

Plibersek said on Thursday that the country’s environmental laws had been “violated” and that the government would implement the reform package in late 2023, taking into account three principles: national environmental standards, speeding up the decision-making process, and increasing trust and integrity in the system.

He stressed that Thursday’s response is the first step and that the details and design will be worked on next year.

The government will begin by developing national standards for five priority areas: issues of national environmental importance, First Nations involvement and participation in decision-making, community engagement and consultation, regional planning and environmental offsets.

Issues of national environmental importance to guide decisions regarding threatened species and world heritage sites will be the first standard to be consulted in the new year and will be developed over time along with other standards.

A three-tier system would introduce a traffic light approach to development and environmental protection.

In managed areas considered of high environmental value, development will be largely prohibited in managed areas and no Commonwealth approval will be required for “priority development areas”.

This will happen in conjunction with a new regional planning model that determines where development will take place in a given region. A similar proposal was made by the Morrison government earlier this year, but was criticized for focusing too much on accelerating development rather than improving the environment.

The government said its approach was aimed at addressing the cumulative effects of development and announced that the first such plan would be developed with the Queensland government.

The government also plans to overhaul Australia’s troubled recovery planning system by adopting a new approach it says will strengthen protections by requiring that decisions be consistent with any conservation document. This rule previously only applied to species and habitats with an active remediation plan that were a minority of threatened plants and animals.

Environmental groups welcomed some of the key changes proposed.

Rachel Lowry, WWF-Australia’s chief conservation officer, said the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act’s “biggest single failure” was its lack of enforcement, so the central role of an EPA and the proposal to set it up “red” was welcomed. line that would ban most developments in environmentally sensitive areas”.

That said, the proposed timeline for introducing legislation in late 2023 is alarming, as any real changes are unlikely to happen until 2024.

“Our wildlife and wild places cannot afford to wait this long to take action,” he said.

The Wilderness Society welcomed the EPA and its decision to apply national standards to forestry, but said other key elements risked putting in place a system that is too focused on environmental destruction rather than conservation.

James Trezise of the Invasive Species Council said moves to modernize conservation planning were welcomed, but the package released Thursday remained “de facto silent” on the management of threats to the environment. He said the government will not be able to achieve its zero-extinction goal unless threats are tackled.

Tim Reed, head of the Australian Business Council, said business should work closely with the government to “avoid creating more complexity”.

“The current system does not provide certainty to businesses or facilitate environmental consequences. “Complexity makes project approvals very slow and the lack of clear accountability means we’re not getting the best environmental results, we need a win-win system.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *