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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

8 December 2006

Changes to strengthen federal environmental law passed


Key changes to strengthen Australia's federal environment law were passed by the Senate late last night, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said today.

Senator Campbell said the amendments to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC) would allow the Australian Government to provide even stronger protection for Australia's environment while ensuring decisions can be made more strategically.

Changes to the law will provide for:

"The EPBC Act is world-class legislation which has delivered major environmental achievements and has now been significantly strengthened," Senator Campbell said.

"The amendments include common-sense changes to reduce red tape and streamline processes to allow sound development to continue while maintaining maximum protection for the environment.

"The centrepiece change is the flexibility of a more strategic measure of environmental protection rather than the traditional project-by-project approach.

"The strengthened provisions for strategic assessment and bioregional planning will mean for the first time in our history, the Australian Government can put in place a strategic overlay for development on a landscape on regional scale.

"With this new approach, we should be able to avoid the 'salami slice' environmental protection of the past that has resulted in large areas, particularly on our coastline, suffering environmental degradation simply because no-one has considered the cumulative or regional impact of a whole series of individual projects."

Further information about the proposed amendments, including the complete list of amendments is available at: www.deh.gov.au/epbc

Media contact:
Rob Broadfield (02) 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902

Commonwealth of Australia