Interim report highlights need for fundamental reform

22 Jul 2020

The interim report of the Independent Review of the EPBC Act 1999, Australia’s main legislation for the protection of our natural heritage has backed the need to make substantial and meaningful improvements in our national environmental protection.

Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) welcomes the proposed establishment of the National Environmental Standards to support clear and consistent decision making and to ensure development is conducted in an ecologically sustainable manner.   

“Clearly defined, measurable standards focused on outcomes and supported by quality data and information, will be imperative for ensuring that development is sustainable in the long-term.” said Davina Rooney, CEO of GBCA.

The interim report finds that our natural environment is in a trajectory of decline and that our current practices are unsustainable. It also recognises that the EPBC Act is failing to address the serious and increasing threats we are facing.

“Slowing and reversing this environmental decline should be treated as a first-order priority by the Federal Government.

“The EPBC Act must now, more than ever, be equipped to deliver on its primary stated objectives: to provide for the protection of the natural environment and promote the conservation of biodiversity.

GBCA has also welcomed the Government’s focus on creating national environmental standards, modernising and bolstering the protection of Indigenous cultural heritage, and considering market based solutions for habitat restoration.

“The Australian property industry comprises world leaders in sustainable development and our members stand ready to deliver on Australia’s building and infrastructure needs while rehabilitating our environment.

“There is a need and a responsibility to bring the EPBC Act in line with modern challenges and expectations for conservation,” said Ms Rooney.