Update 18 November 2015: Different leader, same old tricks. A new senate committee report supports government’s move to remove standing under the EPBC Act.
The Abbott Government has proposed to once again look to the past and put coal mining ahead of community and the environment by repealing section 487 of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act) and “returning to the common law”.
A community group successfully showed the government had failed to comply with environmental protection laws, resulting in the Federal Court setting aside the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine development (one of only two times this has happened). But rather than accept the ruling, the Attorney-General George Brandis has sought to claim community groups upholding the law are “vigilantes” and “saboteurs” waging “lawfare”.
These claims have been previously disproven by the Productivity Commission (here at p 713), and the Queensland Land Court (here at p 15), who have confirmed there is no evidence to suggest court processes are used for delay rather than ensuring our country’s environmental laws are upheld to protect our precious nature.
In fact reviews of the EPBC Act have recommended extending rather than restricting standing under the Act.
Attorney-General George Brandis, don't put coal miners above the law by removing public appeal rights from federal environment laws.
Jo Bragg, CEO & Solicitor, EDO Qld.