Monday, 17 June 2013
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment Bill 2013; In Committee
The government does not support the amendment from the opposition, but, in saying that, I do agree with a lot that Senator Birmingham has said. It is not unusual to include a review trigger in any legislation and it is appropriate that a proper and open review of legislative changes occur. I can indicate to the senator that in six years' time the EPBC Act will be independently reviewed and reviewed by statutory authority. That is already in the act and that is a reasonable amount of time to include this trigger as part of the overall review that will occur at that time. It will then be synchronised with the review of the whole act, and I think that is a sensible thing to do.
I do not necessarily accept Senator Birmingham's commentary of our government and review process. The Hawke review, as he indicated, was undertaken. There were recommendations that were both regulatory and legislative. A lot of those regulatory recommendations have been dealt with, and the government has undertaken to implement in the next parliament the legislative recommendations that were made as part of the Hawke review. But I think that we have a good outcome here. In six years time we will be able to fully review the operations of the EPBC Act as a whole, and that then will be a comprehensive, open and transparent review process that I think will better serve the amendments that we are making today.