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Reforming the EPBC Act for nature, community and climate outcomes

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act is Australia's legal framework for the protection of nationally significant places, species and ecosystems. It is being updated by the Federal Government for the first time in two decades. It is significant for us as we build renewable energy infrastructure to reduce our climate pollution, we want the changes to ensure these projects protect and, where possible, improve outcomes for nature.

We know our national nature laws need modernising and there are many issues to consider. From our particular perspective, there are three key issues with cross-cutting connection to the government’s climate response on nature laws and the renewable energy targets. Theseare: climate and emissions; community engagement and regional planning. We have made brief recommendations to the government on these matters as follows:
  1. Include clear references to climate change as a major threat to nature, biodiversity and a clear identifiable (and growing) factor in species extinction and infuse the legislation with language that drives developments to reduce climate risks locally and globally.
  2. Include an objective in the legislation for emissions reduction.
  3. Improve language in the Matter of National Environmental Significance on Community Engagement to more clearly reflect contemporary best practice approaches that include the ‘involve’, ‘collaborate’ and ‘empower’ approaches to community engagement.
  4. Add a statement of expectations on developers by community stakeholders to make it clear to all what is a minimum threshold of practice.
  5. Add a clear list of the stakeholders that must be engaged with in regard to developments covered under the new nature laws. This list should as a minimum include community representatives, local business groups, local government representatives, environment groups, emergency services, agriculture/producer groups, First Nations and Traditional Owner groups and others identified as relevant to the project.

Read our full submission.

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