SCBO opposes EPBC Act amendment

This week, the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee recommended the repeal of Section 487 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999. This amendment would prevent individuals and community groups from seeking judicial review of decisions under the EPBC Act.

The inquiry attracted 292 formal submissions, with most opposed to the repeal of Section 487.  In addition, 21,117 letters were sent to the Committee by members of the Australian public outlining their concern over the proposed amendment.

SCBO strongly opposes the repeal of Section 487. Our submission argued that all Australians are affected by impacts to Matters of National Environmental Significance and public participation is already extremely limited in national environmental matters. Not providing this opportunity may increase project uncertainty and approval time for developments.

Australia’s natural environment, its native biodiversity, including animals, birds and plants are a common pool resource from which all Australians receive benefits.  We should all be involved in decisions of national importance.

The Government will now consider the Senate Committee’s recommendation. If it concurs with the recommendation, it may draft a legislative amendment to pass through both houses and give effect to this change.

4 thoughts on “SCBO opposes EPBC Act amendment

  1. I’m greatly concerned by this policy decision by SCBO. Not only do I disagree with its intent but I would have preferred that the executive of the Society contact all Society members for comment and approval of this policy.

  2. Thank you for your comments, the Executive did contact all members in September when we put forward our submission. The submission was compiled based on feedback and the Board of the Society for Conservation Biology (Oceania), primarily focusing on potential for localised impacts to affect larger scale process and organism distributions.

    1. IKf this is an example of what the Society believes is open policy development involving member consultation, I’m far from impressed. The announcement that a policy was being developed on this topic was hidden in the emailed newsletter summary as ‘Policy Submissions’ with no indication what topics were being considered. Further, the September newsletter states that the submission on the EPBC Act had in fact already been made to the Senate, so there was no consultation with members and the policy formulation was done by the executive (I assume or was it just by one member of the executive?).

      Overall, this process needs to be reviewed so that a genuinely consultative process is put in place and that members are not railroaded into accepting a policy they know nothing about.

      1. Thank you for your constructive comments; I will forward to them to the board particularly in relation to concerns about the process of developing policy submissions

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