Over that time Gecko, as a leading regional environmental body, has actively participated in all
consultations relating the EPBC Act, the cornerstone of Australia’s environmental protection as well
as to development proposals that trigger Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES). In
this instance we would like to express our strong objection to this Bill, its manner of hasty passage
through Parliament and the lamentably curtailed debate that has taken place. We believe that this
Bill, which has been prematurely drafted and tabled, should have been informed by the final report
of the statutory independent review of the EPBC Act conducted by Prof Graeme Samuel AO. This has
yet to be presented to the public, together with the government’s considered response. The findings
of the preliminary report clearly stated that, “The EPBC Act is ineffective. It does not enable the
Commonwealth to protect and conserve environmental matters that are important for the nation.”
This view was backed up by the Australian National Audit Office which found that the federal
government’s administration of the EPBC Act was neither effective nor efficient.
No proof has been provided to demonstrate that the Bill will provide increased efficiency or a reduction of the costs of development applications.