EPBC Act Review Update | 21st February 2020

Published 21 February 2020

The Institute is in the final stages of compiling responses for the submission to the Discussion Paper before the April 17 deadline.

If you have any comments or expertise relating to the below questions, please be sure to contact us at advocacy@eianz.org.

The Institute would like to thank you for taking the time to assist in the Institute’s submission so that we may provide a strong response to the review, and provide a voice for those who are best positioned to shape our federal legislation.


What high level concerns should the review focus on? For example, should there be greater focus on better guidance on the EPBC Act, including clear environmental standards? How effective has the EPBC Act been in achieving its statutory objectives to protect the environment and promote ecologically sustainable development and biodiversity conservation? What have been the economic costs associated with the operation and administration of the EPBC Act? 

What additional future trends or supporting evidence should be drawn on to inform the review?

Should the EPBC Act position the Commonwealth to take a stronger role in delivering environmental and heritage outcomes in our federated system? Who should articulate outcomes? Who should provide oversight of the outcomes? How do we know if outcomes are being achieved?

How can environmental protection and environmental restoration be best achieved together? 

  • Should the EPBC Act have a greater focus on restoration? 
  • Should the Act include incentives for proactive environmental protection? 
  • How will we know if we’re successful? 
  • How should Indigenous land management practices be incorporated? 

Are heritage management plans and associated incentives sensible mechanisms to improve? How can the EPBC Act adequately represent Indigenous culturally important places? Should protection and management be place-based instead of values based? 

Should the EPBC Act require the use of strategic assessments to replace case-by-case assessments? Who should lead or participate in strategic assessments? 

Should low-risk projects receive automatic approval or be exempt in some way? 

  • How could data help support this approach? 
  • Should a national environmental database be developed? 
  • Should all data from environmental impact assessments be made publicly available? 

Should the Commonwealth’s regulatory role under the EPBC Act focus on habitat management at a landscape-scale rather than species-specific protections? 

Should the EPBC Act be amended to enable broader accreditation of state and territory, local and other processes?

  • How should the EPBC Act support the engagement of Indigenous Australians in environment and heritage management? 
  • How can we best engage with Indigenous Australians to best understand their needs and potential contributions? 
  • What mechanisms should be added to the Act to support the role of Indigenous Australians? 

What innovative approaches could the review consider that could efficiently and effectively deliver the intended outcomes of the EPBC Act? What safeguards would be needed?

How could private sector and philanthropic investment in the environment be best supported by the EPBC Act? 

  • Could public sector financing be used to increase these investments? 
  • What are the benefits, costs or risks with the Commonwealth developing a public investment vehicle to coordinate EPBC Act offset funds?

Review Principles:

  • Effective protection of Australia’s environment
  • Making decisions simpler 
  • Indigenous knowledge and experience 
  • Improving inclusion, trust and transparency 
  • Supporting partnerships and economic opportunity 
  • Integrating planning 

Do you have suggested improvements to the above principles? How should they be applied during the review and in future reform?

Submit responses here >

Click here for more information relating to the EPBC Act Review >