The overwhelming message received by the review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) is that Australians care deeply about our iconic places and unique environment. Protecting and conserving them for the benefit of current and future generations is important for the nation.
The evidence received by the review is compelling. Australia’s natural environment and iconic places are in an overall state of decline and are under increasing threat. The pressures on the environment are significant – including land-use change, habitat loss and degradation, and feral animals and invasive plant species. The impact of climate change on the environment will exacerbate pressures and contribute to further decline. In its current state, the environment is not sufficiently resilient to withstand these threats. The current environmental trajectory is unsustainable.
- Australia’s natural environment and iconic places are in an overall state of decline and are under increasing threat. The current environmental trajectory is unsustainable.
- The EPBC Act is ineffective. It does not enable the Commonwealth to effectively protect environmental matters that are important for the nation. It is not fit to address current or future environmental challenges.
- New National Environmental Standards should be the centrepiece of fundamental reform of national environmental law.
This is the final report of the review. Chapters 1 to 11 of the report set out the key problems with the Act and its operations and provides recommendations to address these. Chapter 12 sets out the recommended pathway with 3 tranches of reform to be delivered: immediately to progress priorities, within 12 months, and within 2 years.