Progressing Our Nature Positive Law Reforms

Dept of Climate Change, Energy, Environment & Water

The Australian Government today announced its plans to progress the second stage of its Nature Positive Plan, including establishing Environment Protection Australia.

Nearly $100 million has been allocated to speed up environmental approval decisions to protect the environment while supporting sensible development.

Laws to deliver this second stage will be introduced into Parliament in the coming weeks

Environment Protection Australia

This package includes new legislation to establish Australia’s first national independent environment protection agency – Environment Protection Australia (EPA).

EPA will initially operate within the department to administer crucial environmental legislation, until it transitions to become an independent statutory agency.

EPA will administer Australia’s environmental protection laws to better protect nature and make faster, better decisions. This includes:

  • making environmental assessments
  • deciding project approvals and conditions
  • issuing permits and licences
  • educating industry, business and the community to help them navigate our environment laws
  • speeding up development decisions, including project assessments
  • enforcing the law through tough new monitoring and enforcement powers.

EPA will be responsible for regulatory activities under Australia’s environment law, including in relation to project assessments, recycling, hazardous waste, wildlife trafficking, sea dumping, ozone protection and air quality.

Environment Information Australia

The Stage 2 legislation will also establish the Head of Environment Information Australia, a new statutory position.

The bill will provide statutory functions, powers and obligations for this position.

EIA will provide high quality and authoritative environmental data to the government – including to EPA once established – and the public. It will also report regularly on the state of the environment every 2 years.

Investment in faster approvals

The Australian Government also announced a nearly $100 million investment to support faster environmental approval decisions for projects.

This will include support for staff to assess project proposals, and support for businesses to help them comply with the law.

This funding will also support research into threatened species and planning with state and territory governments.

This will help inform us what areas are suitable for development and what areas need to be avoided to help protect our most vulnerable places and species.

Next steps

Stage 1 of the Nature Positive law reform package was delivered last year with the passage of legislation to establish the world’s first Nature Repair Market and to amend the water trigger to include unconventional gas.

Laws to deliver the second stage of the Government’s Nature Positive Plan will be introduced into Parliament in the coming weeks.

These are significant milestones in delivering our Nature Positive law reforms, but there’s still a lot of work to do.

We will continue to progress our Nature Positive law reforms, including stage 3, to ensure we have robust, fit-for-purpose laws to protect, repair and better manage the environment.

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