The Independent Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) is currently underway, and an Interim Report was released on July 20. The Independent Reviewer, Professor Graeme Samuel AC, is now in the final stages of consulting with stakeholders and has indicated that he is on track to deliver his final report and recommendations to Government by the end of October.
The Government has committed to progressing reforms that align with key directions set out in the Interim Report. This includes progressing single-touch approvals, which will devolve EPBC Act approvals to the states and territories, underpinned by new national environmental standards.
All states and territories have expressed support for this approach through the National Cabinet, and we have commenced talks with each jurisdiction to make this happen. The EPBC Act already allows for the devolution of approvals to the states. The amendments currently before the Parliament will ensure single-touch approvals are robust and efficient.
While this work continues, the Independent Reviewer, Professor Graeme Samuel AC, is further developing interim national environmental standards. These are expected to be included in his final report, alongside recommendations for further reform.