Australian Greens' dissenting report

‘Legislation for extinction’
This bill and the so-called consultation process undertaken by the Morrison Government is a sham.
The Federal Government introduced the bill in an attempt to win support for the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Streamlining Environmental Approvals) Bill 2020.
However, this bill fails to address the issues with the Streamlining Environmental Approvals bill. It fails to strengthen environmental laws which are already failing our native species. Indeed, it will fast-track extinction in the middle of the worsening extinction crisis.
The Australian Greens’ position outlined in the dissenting report to the Streamlining Environmental Approvals bill Senate inquiry remains the same.
Both bills should be rejected by the parliament.
The Prime Minister has repeatedly claimed these environmental law reforms had the support of the states. This is not true. The New South Wales and Queensland State Governments and the ACT Government have already stated they do not support the devolution of environmental assessment powers to the states without stronger national standards to protect wildlife.
Evidence to the committee from scientist Professor Moritz from the Australian Academy of Science was that ‘the standards that are now proposed—these interim standards—are not scientifically credible’. It is staggering that after a once-in-ten-year statutory review that received more than 30 000 submissions and almost a year-long process of consideration of legislation, that the government hasn’t even put forward scientifically credible standards.
The government has failed to properly consult with expert stakeholders that have sought to engage and contribute to the development of strong national standards. The last minute release of another version of the standards just days before this committee held a hearing into this bill (‘the latest version’), was a kick in the guts to the efforts of those involved in the development process and flies in the face of the national standards recommended in the final EPBC Review Report.
Humane Society International and the Environmental Defenders Office, having reviewed the latest version of the national environment standards tabled by the Department of Environment on 30 April 2021 told this committee that ‘the latest version of the standards have further weakened possible environmental outcomes’.1
The Morrison Government has consulted in bad faith. While that is extremely disappointing for stakeholders and Professor Graeme Samuel who have put thousands of hours into improving our environmental laws so our wildlife and natural places are protected, the result will now be more dead koalas, more pollution, more logging and more wanton destruction of environment and heritage.
Professor Wintle, from the National Environmental Science Program’s Threatened Species Recovery Hub, summed up the overarching problem in this exchange:
Senator HANSON-YOUNG: From a threatened species perspective, would this piece of legislation leave our Australian wildlife in a worse position?
Prof. Wintle: Of course, it’s very difficult to say definitely worse. I see no basis to be enthusiastic about where this would leave us. I think it’s going to leave us, at best, in the same position we’re in, which is a parlous state. We are in the middle of an extinction crisis.2
This is a devastating reality and it is a pox on the Morrison Government to have failed our environment, our koalas and precious wildlife and the Australian people so tremendously.
Zero extinction must be the goal. This bill must be rejected.


The Australian Greens recommend that this bill not be passed.
Senator Sarah Hanson-Young
Deputy Chair

  • 1
    Humane Society International and Environmental Defenders Office, Supplementary Submission 9.1, p. 1.
  • 2
    Committee Hansard, 4 May 2021, p. 16.

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