Weakening of the 1999 EPBC Act

The federal government is working towards devolving decision-making powers under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act to the state governments. This move has resulted from pressure from big business and the mining industry who are interested primarily in profits and who, it appears, have little interest in environmental protection.

Government and industry propose to hand important federal approval powers to the states, and fast track approvals for large developments, effectively removing federal protection for Australia’s special natural and cultural places. This should be of extreme concern to all Australians, as the federal powers under the EPBC Act provide a critical check and balance to state governments, who have a sad record of encouraging and approving major developments in their quest for additional income.

Without federal intervention there would be oil rigs on the Great Barrier Reef, and in Tasmania the Franklin River would be dammed, there would be a road through the most untouched parts of the Tarkine and the forested cultural landscape of Recherche Bay would have been clearfelled.

Because this is such a critical issue, we need to send a clear message to the federal government that our environmental laws need to be strengthened not weakened, and they must continue to have full oversight of the EPBC Act. More information, including a site to send a message to the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, can be found at the campaign website at http://www.placesyoulove.org/. Act now to help save Tasmania’s and Australia’s environment.

Peter McGlone