The first 10-year review of the Commonwealth’s environmental legislation, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)was made publicly available on 21 December 2009.
It was conducted by Dr Allan Hawke throughout 2009.
The final report makes 71 recommendations, covering numerous aspects of the Act’s operation from the significant to the relatively minor. In particular, the report recommends a more robust approach to how the Regional Forest Agreements are used. These are currently covering most of the important and controversial forested regions in Australia including East Gippsland.
The review recommended proper independent auditing and monitoring of the RFAs as well as sanctions for non-compliance. This recommendation has already been rejected by the Federal Government!
It also suggested the introduction of an ‘interim greenhouse trigger’, which would require a development producing more than a certain tonnage of CO2 emissions to be assessed under the Act. This was also rejected.
The federal Environment Department has a website here dedicated to the review including the full report, individual chapters of the report, and fact sheets dealing with a number of aspects of the review. The details of the review of Regional Forest agreements can be found here.