Australian Labor Party Senators' Dissenting Report
In 2011, the then Labor Government released its response to the
Independent Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999 (commonly referred to as the 'Hawke Review'). In its
response, the Labor Government committed to achieving better environmental
outcomes, while improving the efficiency of the management of matters of
national environmental significance. This included a shift from individual
approvals to strategic processes; and developing more efficient assessment and
Following this response, COAG agreed in April 2012 to prioritise
approval bilateral agreements under the EPBC Act. Discussions about approval
bilateral arrangements were held with the states and territories and a draft
framework of standards for the accreditation of environmental approvals was
released in November 2012.
While discussions with all jurisdictions were constructive, the Labor
Government concluded that the significant challenges that emerged meant that
providing both certainty and consistency for business and maintaining high
environmental standards could not be achieved through an approval bilaterals
process and did not progress this agenda. Instead a focus was put on meeting
common information requirements, eliminating duplication and avoiding delayed
The current Government often refers to the approval bilaterals process
begun under the previous Labor Government as part of an argument for Labor's
hypocrisy. This is clearly a misleading argument as Labor explored the option
of pursuing approval bilaterals with the states and found that they would not
lead to better environmental or business outcomes. This remains the position of
Federal Labor Shadow Minister Mark Butler summarised Labor's opposition
to these changes in his second reading speech on the Bill:
At the end of the day we take as a matter of principle the
view that matters of national environmental significance—which is the scope of
matters covered by this legislation—must remain the province of a national
government. That is not a party political perspective. Whether it is a national
coalition or national Labor government and whether it is state Labor or state
Liberal governments, our view is the same: the Commonwealth should have
responsibility for matters of national environmental significance, for a whole
range of reasons that I have tried to outline.
For a full view of Federal Labor's views on this matter this dissenting
report should be read in conjunction with the March 2013 Environment and
Communications Legislation Committee Inquiry into the Environment Protection
and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Retaining Federal Approval Powers)
The Chair's report includes a comprehensive summary of many of the
arguments against the Bill.
Public comment in support of the Bill in the Chair's report was largely
focussed on the perceived reduction in cost for industry.
In evidence to the hearing, the Department could not outline what had
changed since the 2012 decision by the previous Labor Government to stop the
process apart from an election commitment by the Abbott Coalition Government.
Schedule 1 - Referral of Controlled
As highlighted in the Chair's Report, nearly all of the submissions
received opposed the one stop shop reforms for some or all of the following
it will add complexity to approval processes;
it will not result in any efficiency gains;
currently, no state or territory has sufficient resources or the
appropriate environmental processes in place to adequately assess actions that
may impact on national environmental standards;
it will result in a diminution of current environmental standards
pertaining to matters of national environmental significance; and
it will create potential conflicts of interest.
The Chair's Report highlighted that submissions from industry groups and
the Premier of Queensland supported the amendments on the basis of reducing
duplication in assessment processes to reduce monetary and time costs to
Evidence from Dr Chris McGrath noted that the decisions made under the
EPBC Act are highly discretionary and 'whether a decision complies with
Australia's obligations under the World Heritage Convention or not is a matter
that reasonable minds can differ on'. Dr McGrath concluded that 'the standards
that are imposed in the approval bilateral are not worth the paper they are
written on, because all of these decisions, at the end of the day, are a matter
of discretion with broad parameters.'
The Chair's report uses an extract from the Department's submission that
highlights the lack of consistency between the Commonwealth and states and
territories can lead to differences in processes, outcomes and timeframes to
argue in support of the changes. However, the Bill will clearly not result in
one uniform environmental approvals process for all states and territories.
There will continue to be a lack of consistency between the Commonwealth and
states and territories in assessing matters of national environmental
significance because the Bill allows states and territories to keep their own
processes, as long as they meet national standards.
Mr Glen Klatovsky from The Places You Love Alliance highlighted in
evidence at the hearing concerns of many submissions and witnesses around the
complexity of the reforms and inability of states to meet national standards:
They are taking what is currently, in my view, a one-stop
shop—a set of nationally significant items that the Australian public have
voted repeatedly in support of under the EPBC Act and which the federal
government have had approval powers over through one system, the federal
system—and are proposing to put it through eight separate systems. The original
concept of allowing states to do assessment and approvals was based upon a
belief that the states and territories would get up to the standards of the
EPBC Act, which they have failed to do 15 years down the line.
Rather than seeking to harmonise approvals processes for matters of
national environmental significance, the Bill will entrench the differences
between states and territories. Companies that operate across jurisdictions
will be required to have understanding of each individual jurisdiction’s processes
for matters of national environmental significance, rather than just an
understanding of the Commonwealth’s processes.
The Chair's report notes that the Department of the Environment, the
Minerals Council of Australia and AMEC believe that the Bill will eventually
see the removal of duplication.
However, as highlighted by the first drafts of the bilateral agreements
with New South Wales and Queensland there is no guarantee that states and
territories will have approvals processes strong enough to ever see the
complete removal of duplication.
Further, as Schedule 5 of the Bill allows for people or entities, such
as local government, to be authorised by the state to make approval decisions,
industry could be faced with many hundreds of decision makers each with their
own processes. Therefore, Labor Senator's agree with a large number of
submissions that the Bill is likely to increase complexity in the foreseeable
Efficiency Gains and Cost Reduction
The Chair's report highlights that many submissions believe that there
will not be efficiency gains and cost reductions from the Bill. The Chair's
report specifies that the largest regulatory costs for proponents are typically
in the assessment phase, which is already completed in conjunction with states
and territories, only typically requires an extra form to be completed and is
normally completed within a few weeks. The Chair's report notes that AMEC and
Minerals Council claim that this form takes a lot of extra time.
The Chair's report notes a cost benefit analysis conducted by Deloitte
Access Economics, from the Minerals Council submission, concluded there would
be over $1 billion in net benefits to business and government over a ten
year period if bilateral agreements 'along with administrative reforms' were
implemented. Examination of the cost benefit analysis uncovers that the net
benefits from just the bilateral agreements is around one third of the total
claimed in the Minerals Council submission.
Labor Senators note that the cost benefit analysis undertaken by
Deloitte Access Economics focussed solely on net benefits to government,
industry and the economy from bilateral agreements and administrative reforms
and assumed that environmental outcomes would remain constant.
The Chair's report notes evidence from Mr Glen Klatovsky of The Places
You Love Alliance that good environmental protection laws deliver substantially
higher public financial benefits, many multiples higher than compliance costs.
Mr Klatovsky referred to the United States and the European Union. A speech by
Professor Rod Fowler to the Forum for Nature expands on these points:
- a study by the US EPA found that the benefits of the 1990
Clean Air Act Amendments will exceed compliance costs by a factor of more than
thirty to one by 2020;
the European Commission has reported that full implementation
of EU environmental legislation will bring an annual benefit of 50 billion
euros in terms of growth, jobs and well- being across the European continent.
The Chair's report notes evidence from the Department that there is
different analysis conducted by the Department of Environment to that conducted
by states and territories. In this evidence, it appears that the Department
generalises away the importance of its own specialised analysis regarding
matters of national environmental significance.
(the Department of Environment)...looks at often much of the
same types of material or the same types of environmental assessment material
and surveys et cetera but does that from the perspective of looking
specifically at what the potential impacts might be on matters of national
environmental significance. Essentially the state or territory regulator
is looking at the whole-of-environment impacts, and the role of the
Commonwealth regulator is to look at the eight or nine specific enumerated
matters of national environmental significance under the Commonwealth legislation,
so essentially the proponent is dealing with two regulators as part of the same
project approval process. (emphasis added)
It is true that under the current model proponents are dealing with two
regulators as part of the same project approval process. However, these two
regulators are analysing the application on very different scales. As the
Department outlines, the Commonwealth Department must have regard to matters of
national environmental significance, while the states and territories have
regard to whole-of-environment impacts within the jurisdiction’s borders.
The Chair's report uses evidence from the Department related to the
benefits of the recent accreditation of the NOPSEMA process. NOPSEMA is the
sole national regulator for offshore petroleum, not eight very different state
and territory jurisdictions. Labor Senators believe that the NOPSEMA example
does not justify the devolution of approvals as it is related to a single
national authority, not a national standard applied across eight states and
The Chair's report also uses evidence from the Department of potential
savings for a project proponent but does not consider any increased costs to
the Commonwealth and / or states and territories. As states and territories
have no experience in approvals relating to the nine matters of national
environmental significance, they will need specialists capable of regulating
proposals to the national standard. Further, as the Commonwealth will retain
call in powers on all delegated approval it will need to retain staff to
complete an approval in the case of a call in. As the purpose of these reforms
are to make the approvals process more efficient while keeping environmental
outcomes constant, Labor Senators are concerned that the Commonwealth will
either have to keep a large number of staff with excess capacity to deal with
call ins or see a large delay in project approvals.
Further, Labor Senators are concerned about the capacity of smaller
states to approve projects relating to matters of national environmental
significance at a national standard. A state regulator may only practice
regulation with regard to specific matters of national environmental
significance on a small number of occasions. This raises the potential for
mistakes and costs to proponents from appeals and damage to the environment.
The Chair's report mentions the evidence from Environmental Justice
Australia that the Bill will create further uncertainty in the approvals
process. Further, Glen Klatovsky of The Places You Love Alliance provided
evidence to the hearing that he felt that the Business Council of Australia
appear to be less certain about the concept than they were in 2012 because of
the potential exposure to litigation from poor processes of states and
It is interesting to read the Business Council of Australia's
submission to this inquiry. They really emphasise the need for Commonwealth
officers to be in each of the states and territories to actually make sure that
this can work. This is at a time of massive job shedding, at both federal and
The Business Council of Australia's submission noted a need for close
administrative cooperation between the Commonwealth and states to ensure consistency
in decisions. As Mr Klatovsky summarised in his evidence, The Business Council
of Australia proposed an expansion of the Commonwealth public service to
oversee state agencies as 'critical' to support the transition and 'remove
duplication while maintaining environmental outcomes'.
The Business Council did not propose a time frame for the cessation of
the extra Commonwealth staffing or if some Commonwealth staff would assist more
than one jurisdiction. Labor Senators are surprised by this submission, given
the vast recommendations to slash the Commonwealth public service in the
Business Council of Australia’s Commission of Audit.
Labor Senators would have liked to question the Business Council of
Australia on this proposal but the Council refused the Committee’s invitation
to appear at the hearing. This is despite the hearing being held in Melbourne,
the location of the head offices of the Business Council of Australia.
Maintenance of National
The Chair's report summarises arguments proposed in many of the
submissions that bilateral approvals agreements will see a 'potential
diminution' in national environmental standards, because 'states and
territories do not have the same standards as those contained in the EPBC Act
and are not capable of assessing impacts of projects on matters of national
environmental significance and the national interest'.
The Chair's report highlights that a number of submissions argued that
there was therefore a need to keep national protection measures on matters of
national environmental significance.
In addition to the evidence included in the Chair's report, Labor
Senators wish to highlight further evidence of a number of witnesses on the
negative impact of bilateral approval agreements on matters of national
environmental significance and on Australia's international obligations and the
need for national leadership on the environment.
Mr Peter Cosier from the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists noted
in evidence to the hearing the large focus of referrals to the Commonwealth on
threatened and migratory species:
Seventy-five per cent of proposals that need to come to the
Commonwealth under the EPBC Act are to do with the threatened species or
migratory species triggers, which is effectively a land-clearing trigger.
Mr Brendan Sydes from Environmental Justice Australia summarised the
need for a national approach to management of nuclear materials:
Nuclear, of all things, is not something where you want the
eight or nine different rail gauges type phenomenon; that is something where
there ought to be consistent, strong Commonwealth leadership.
Mrs Alexia Wellbelove from the Humane Society International highlighted
concerns regarding a potential race to the bottom between states without regard
to a national perspective:
Our concern is that this bill is seeking to bend federal law
to meet these lower state standards. Clearly the need for this bill has been
driven by the fact that these laws are not up to the job, and we are concerned
that there is the potential for a race to the bottom. It also leads us to the
conclusion that our most important, nationally protected places and wildlife
will have decisions made on them at the state or even worse the local level and
not with the necessary national perspective. HSI's position remains firmly that
national environmental issues need national leadership.
Ms Ruchira Talukdar from the Australian Conservation Foundation
summarised the concerns of many submissions in evidence at the hearing
regarding an inability of states and territories to meet Australia's international
When it comes to international obligations, like Ramsar or
World Heritage, the Australian public do not have confidence that state
governments can protect those kinds of areas adequately. One reason for this
is: it is not for one state alone to decide whether a matter that is of
national or international significance should be protected, which is why the
EPBC Act was put into place in the first case after the Tasmanian dam case.
Ms Rachel Walmsley from the Australian Network of Environmental
Defender's Offices expanded on the concerns regarding Australia’s international
obligations in evidence at the hearing:
If you look at state and territory laws, they rarely mention
things like the convention on migratory species. They rarely refer even to the
Ramsar Convention. These are all things that are right through the EPBC Act.
State legislative definitions of migratory species do not refer to the
conventions and there is no requirement for states to comply with international
obligations. Once we get down to state level, there is just not the same level
of detail as there is in the EPBC Act.
Mrs Alexia Wellbelove from Humane Society International also expanded on
the concerns regarding Australia’s international obligations in evidence at the
By handing over decision-making on migratory species, World
Heritage, wetlands of international importance or Ramsar to the states, we fail
to understand how Australia can effectively implement the conventions that
those matters have arisen from. For example, migratory species is listed as
'migratory species' under the EPBC Act because it has been listed on the
appendices of the CMS convention, as it is known. Australia has to prepare a
national report to that convention and, if those matters are delegated to a
state, territory or local government, we do not understand how Australia can
effectively meet its commitments.
Labor Senators note that the Department’s evidence was focussed around a
range of oversight measures including the process for the approval of the
bilateral agreement, five year reviews, unscheduled audits, a senior officers
committee and a call-in power for the Commonwealth.
Labor Senators note that the Abbott Coalition Government has announced a
staff reduction at the Department of the Environment of 480 positions over
three years. Labor Senators also note that a number of Department of
Environment staff will be seconded to state governments to assist with the
implementation of bilateral approvals agreements. Labor Senators are concerned
that the Department of Environment will have insufficient resources for
comprehensive unscheduled audits of state government processes let alone to
complete a full approval in the case of a call-in.
Further, Labor Senators are concerned that the Minister responsible for
approving a bilateral approvals agreement and for oversight of state government
processes has in just nine months broken three key election commitments on
funding for the Emissions Reduction Fund, Landcare and the One Million Solar
Roofs program and allowed spoil from dredging to be dumped within the Great
Barrier Reef marine park area.
Labor Senators believe that this short track record shows that the
Minister is incapable of standing up to his Cabinet colleagues to even maintain
national environmental standards.
In June 2014 the World Heritage Committee delivered a harsh verdict on
the Government’s failure to protect the Great Barrier Reef.
At its annual meeting the committee voted to keep alive their threat to
list the Great Barrier Reef 'in danger' the Committee also labelled the
handover of federal environmental approval powers to the Queensland Government
Capacity and Readiness of States
and Territories to Implement Approvals Process
The Chair's report summaries concerns of a number of submissions that
the states and territories do not have the capacity and are not ready to
implement bilateral approval agreements and processes.
The only arguments the Chair's Report provides against these
propositions are that the draft approval bilateral agreement with New South
Wales allows for the embedding of officers from the Department of Environment
and that the Commonwealth relies on State Government processes in the
As raised earlier in the Dissenting Report, the notion of embedding
Department of Environment officers in State Governments was raised in the
Business Council of Australia’s submission, in what has been implied to mean
that the BCA has little confidence in the capacity and readiness of states and
In regards to the duplication of effort, Labor Senators note that there
have been long standing assessment bilateral agreements with states and
territories and that this method of assessment has significant value for all
Potential Conflicts of Interest
The Chair's Report notes that a number of submissions highlighted that
there are potential conflicts of interest as a state or territory government’s
role as the proponent of a project. The Chair's Report fails to include the
evidence from Dr Chris McGrath that the draft approvals bilateral agreements
were, before the election, not going to allow states to make decisions over
projects where they were the proponent.
The (Abbott) government and the current environment minister
said before the election that they would be not allowing states to make
decisions over projects where they were the proponent as well as a couple of
other things, and they have not done that under the (draft) approval bilaterals.
A small amount of focus was given to the other obvious potential
conflict of interest – a state or territory government’s focus on local
development in its region of the country and where an economic development or
planning minister or official is set to be responsible for approving projects
relating to matters of national environmental significance. Dr Chris McGrath
stated his concerns in evidence to the hearing:
(The approvals decision) should be made by the federal
environment minister, who is your best chance of having someone who is there
protecting matters of national environmental significance. Under the Queensland
approval bilateral, you are giving the decision to the state
Coordinator-General, who is a public servant whose core purpose is to develop
the state. It is not about protecting the environment at all.
The Chair's Report includes an example from the Department where the
Federal Defence Minister may be the proponent and the Federal Environment
Minister the decision maker as evidence that conflicts are managed now. Labor
Senators believe that this example to be vastly different to the Queensland
example where the Co-ordinator General is both the proponent and the decision
Labor Senators are concerned that while the Department is confident it
will ”know the kinds of things that the states and territories are assessing
and considering”, it can’t provide a clear assurance that the Commonwealth will
be alerted to every conflict of interest and that states and territories have
the capacity to appropriately manage real and perceived conflicts of interest.
Schedule 2 – Flexibility in
Performing Assessment of Controlled Actions
The Schedule sets out for the Department of Environment to complete the
approval process where an approval bilateral agreement is suspended, cancelled
or ceases to apply.
Labor Senators are concerned that at a time when the Commonwealth
Government is reducing employment levels at the Department of Environment by
480 positions, there will be insufficient excess capacity to deal with
incomplete approval processes.
Labor Senators are concerned that this will either lead to delays to
approval processes, delays to other work of the Department of Environment or
calls on consolidated revenue for additional funds.
Schedule 3 Part 1 – Amendments
Relating to Water Resources
The Schedule will not remove the water trigger from matters of national
environmental significance, but will allow for the Minister to accredit state
and territory processes to approve matters previously prohibited for approval
by a state or territory government.
The Chair's Report notes a number of arguments against the delegation of
powers around the water trigger because of the cross jurisdictional boundaries
of water and the insufficient capacity or conflict of interest of state and
The Chair's Report notes the Minerals Council's opposition to the water
trigger is because it 'effectively' duplicates a process and that other
industry groups also oppose the water trigger. Mr Chris McCombe of the Minerals
Council provided an example of the ”effective” duplication:
The broad EIS information that is collected for a project is
not suitable to be provided to the Commonwealth for assessment under the water
trigger. They have to take the material and create essentially mini environmental
impact statements, package them up and send them off to meet the very specific
requirements of the water trigger under the EPBC Act.
As the Chair's Report notes, the water trigger was put in place because
of state and territory government’s inability to adequately deal with threats
to water resources, particularly cross jurisdictional water resources such as
the Great Artesian Basin and Murray Darling Basin. Labor Senators consider the
specific requirements of the water trigger are to not be duplicative because of
the very nature of the issue; that the water resource is of national
significance and a national approach to decision making is needed.
Schedule 3 Part 2 – Amendments
Relating to Bilaterally Accredited Authorisation Processes
The Chair's Report briefly notes the concerns raised by a number of
submissions on the ground that policies and processes are not subject to public
or parliamentary oversight.
In addition to the evidence included in the Chair's report, Labor
Senators wish to highlight further evidence of a number of witnesses on the
potential issues from using policies or guidelines that aren't subject to
public or parliamentary oversight.
Ms Walmsley summarised the concerns of many submissions in evidence to
In a lot of jurisdictions, a significant amount of detail is
in a policy or a guideline. If they are accredited, the Commonwealth may be
able to say, 'At the point of accreditation, yes, those standards were in the
guidelines.' But, without parliamentary oversight or scrutiny, guidelines can
be changed at a state level, and they regularly are. Even if a standard may
exist in a guideline at the time an accreditation is officially done, those
guidelines may change.
Mr Tom Warne-Smith from Environmental Justice Australia further expanded
on how approval bilaterals remove the guarantee certain national standards will
be met in evidence to the hearing:
The fundamental problem with the bill is that it removes the
protections that guarantee those standards. In adopting policies and guidelines
we have removed the requirements that decision makers are firmly bound to
The significant problem in the bill is that it removes the
mechanism for maintaining consistency by allowing policy and guidelines to be
utilised and relied on in the scheme, when decision makers themselves cannot
rely on those instruments. In applying those instruments as they apply from
time to time and removing the parliamentary oversight and the public
consultation process that is required for bilaterals, we are removing the
guarantee that certain standards will be met.
Mr Bradley Tucker from the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists
provided the Committee with substantial evidence regarding the draft policies
under the New South Wales and Queensland bilaterals:
They are delegating approvals under bilaterals that have
draft policies which give state bureaucrats discretion without having to
justify their discretion. That, to me, in no way would satisfy the protection
of a matter of national environmental significance.
The New South Wales draft policy allows for a broader
category of supplementary measures to constitute an offset. This is currently
capped at 10 per cent in the Commonwealth policy. While the New South Wales
policy only limits research and education measures to 10 per cent, it does
allow a broader range of measures to fulfil the other 90 per cent. The other
reason why New South Wales does not meet the Commonwealth standard is that, in
cases where there might be social or economic benefits that accrue in New South
Wales, biodiversity offsets can be discounted.
With respect to Queensland, there is a significant amount of
detail in their legislation that is still to be formed around their offsets and
how they might meet Commonwealth standards. The main issue there is that the
bilateral agreement will accredit supporting guidelines and they are only in
draft form and not finalised. Also, the agreement for offsets is not
necessarily in accordance with the offsets assessment guide, so there could be
projects in Queensland that fall short of meeting the Commonwealth offsets
guide, as long as they apply the Commonwealth policy. It might not be in
accordance with the offsets assessment guide, so there could be a lesser offset
applied in Queensland.
Dr Chris McGrath described the lack of parliamentary oversight ”as a
minefield” and at evidence to the hearing and expanded on this point:
I am looking at this from a judicial review perspective. I
think there is a minefield. Even if they were reflected in law, I think it is a
minefield of how the Commonwealth tries to enforce them. Not having them
reflected in law and allowing policies and those sorts of things is just making
it murkier. If you look at the draft approval bilaterals in Queensland, clearly
the coordinator-general's act, the State Development and Public Works
Organisation Act, is being amended to include a special designation process for
when things are under the approval bilateral. In New South Wales, as I
understand, most of the laws are not being amended to deal with it.
In response, the Chair's Report includes an answer from the Department
that there must be a ‘legislative hook’ for a policy or process. However, the Chair's
Report does not provide evidence that there would be legal enforcement of
standards in approved state and territory policies and guidelines.
Labor Senators consider it inappropriate to give this level of
flexibility to state and territory governments.
Schedule 4 – Minor Amendments of
The Chair's Report notes that the Commonwealth Environment Minister may
approve minor amendments to accredited processes without the need for
parliamentary oversight or public consultation.
The Chair's Report notes a comprehensive example from ANEDO where
Schedule 4 together with Schedule 3 Part 2 could be used by a state or
territory government to alter procedures then have an approval granted by the
Commonwealth Environment Minister retrospectively. The example continues that
neither action may require parliamentary oversight or public consultation and
the amendment needs only to meet the Minister’s definition of not have a
‘material adverse impact’.
The Chair's Report notes evidence from the Department that without
Schedule 4 small changes would cause significant uncertainty for the operation
of bilateral agreements.
Labor Senators consider it inappropriate to give this level of
flexibility to state and territory governments as outlined in detail in
response to Schedule 3 Part 2.
Schedule 5 – Miscellaneous
The Chair's Report notes that a miscellaneous amendment will increase
the range of entities allowed to approve actions to potentially include local
government or a state or territory environmental court or tribunal and that a
number of submissions were opposed on the grounds of capacity to act in
national interest, potential conflicts of interest and negative impacts on
maintenance of strong environmental standards. The explanation from the
Department sought to highlight that the amendment will change the focus from
the identity and legal status of the decision maker to the decision maker’s
ability to adhere to high environmental standards.
The Chair's Report did not include the evidence provided to the hearing
by Mr Graham Short of the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies
We would not be supportive of that particular concept. There
are already some issues that have arisen by various planning processes and
planning schemes and town planning schemes by local authorities that do not
have an understanding of the mining industry. I am pretty sure that our
membership would not support the concept of local councils or local authorities
being involved in the decision-making process.
Labor Senators note the opposition to the devolution of decision making
to local government or a state or territory environmental court or tribunal
from ENGOs and the mining industry and do not support the amendment.
Labor Senators note that the Chair's report relied heavily on the
assurances of officials from the Department of the Environment about the
adequacy of the proposed process for one-stop shop approvals.
Labor Senators are concerned that this Bill will lead to a more
complicated process, that some submissions have titled an eight-stop shop,
particularly in the foreseeable future while the Commonwealth Department of the
Environment works to bring state governments up to national environmental
Labor Senators are also concerned that this Bill does not contain
adequate safeguards to ensure the maintenance of current environmental
standards, particularly given the track record of the Abbott Coalition
Government on the environment.
The Australian Labor Party Senators reject the arguments in the Chair's
Report in support of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation
Amendment (Bilateral Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014 and recommend that it
not be passed.
Urquhart Senator Louise Pratt
Deputy Chair Senator
for Western Australia
Senator for Tasmania
Navigation: Previous Page | Contents | Next Page