Qld Govt rejects Morrison’s backward step on national environmental law

Queensland’s Environment Minister has tonight revealed the Palaszczuk Government has rejected the Morrison Government's attempts to hand control of federal environmental laws, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, to the states without adequately addressing standards, funding and key reforms identified in the 2020 Review.  

In one of the strongest rebukes by a state or territory yet, the Palaszczuk government has called on the federal government to respond to all 38 recommendations of Professor Samuel’s 2020 review of the EPBC Act and finalize a strengthened set of national environmental standards.  

Tonight, during an online forum convened by the Queensland Conservation Council, Minister Scanlon revealed that the Palaszczuk Government has identified several expectations that must be met for the devolution of approval powers under the EPBC Act to be considered.

This included: 

  1. See the Commonwealth respond to all 38 recommendations of Professor Graeme Samuel’s final report of the Independent Review of the EPBC Act
  2. Finalising a strengthened set of national environmental standards.
  3. The step-in roles the Federal Government explained in more detail,
  4. Clear and acceptable funding arrangements.

“We welcome Minister Scanlon’s firm position on strong standards and look forward to working with the Palaszczuk government to ensure reforms are consistent with the Independent Review” said QCC Director Dave Copeman. “We see this as a real win for nature and threatened species!”

“By supporting stronger standards, Minister Scanlon is fighting for a better deal for threatened species and ecosystems.” said Copeman.

“The Independent Review of the EPBC Act provides national, state and territory government’s with an opportunity to address the global extinction crisis.” 

“However, federal laws should stay with the federal government to provide a level of independence about project outcomes. As we’ve seen in Queensland, there have been too many instances where federal laws have been ignored by state governments.” 

If devolution of federal laws does happen, we look forward to working with Minister Scanlon to get the best deal for nature and future generations.” said Copeman. 

Queensland Conservation Council is the state’s peak non-government environment group. Our mission is to protect, conserve and sustain Queensland’s unique natural environment, making sure that our wildlife, rivers and landscapes continue to thrive for future generations. Visit queenslandsconservation.org.au for more information.

Contact: Dave Copeman

Email: [email protected]

Mobile: 0408 841595