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Senator Robert Hill Minister for Environment David Llewellyn, Minister for Primary Industries, Water and Environment

15 December, 2000





The Commonwealth and Tasmania today signed the first bilateral agreement under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill described the signing of the bilateral agreement as an historic moment in Commonwealth-State relations on the environment.

"For the first time ever, the Commonwealth is accrediting a State system for environmental assessment. We are doing so in a framework that ensures the State process will meet national 'best practice' benchmarks for environmental assessment," Senator Hill said.

Mr Llewellyn said the bilateral agreement meant Tasmania would assess projects that trigger the Commonwealth Act using the accredited State assessment process.

"The agreement delivers certainty for industry, and ensures a timely and efficient assessment process. Most importantly, we are ensuring no unnecessary duplication between the two levels of government," he said.

"It is a boost for development in Tasmania to have a streamlined process that has been accredited by the Commonwealth as meeting national standards."

Under the bilateral agreement, the Commonwealth has accredited two Tasmanian assessment processes - an Environmental Impact Statement under the State Policies and Projects Act 1993 and a Development Proposal and Environmental Management Plan under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994.

Senator Hill said the signing of the bilateral agreement is a win for the economy and a win for the environment.

"This bilateral agreement delivers on the objectives of the EPBC Act - enhanced protection for matters of national environmental significance, a user-friendly process and stronger Commonwealth-State cooperation," he said.

Senator Hill said negotiations on bilateral agreements with several other States were also well advanced.

December 15, 2000

Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill's office) 08 82377920 or 0419 258364
Warren Jones, general manager Environment, Planning and Scientific Services (Tasmania) 0418 526242

Commonwealth of Australia