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New Act ‘too complex’

THE Federal Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act which imposes a potential fine of $5 million or seven years jail for developers who fail to comply started on July 16.

The Act establishes a duplicate approval system under which proponents must obtain Federal Government approvals in addition to relevant State approvals before undertaking developments.

The Property Council has repeatedly criticised this law as archaic. It is 1970s legislation that is complex, highly process-driven and contains elaborate assessment processes and expanded Federal bureaucracies rather than specifying desired outcomes and standards.

The Federal Government has released administrative guidelines for determining whether an action has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on a matter of national environmental significance under the Act.

A series of examples relating to urban development form part of the guidelines.

Documentation on the referral process can be obtained by contacting Environment Austra-lia’s Community Information Unit on 1800 803 772 or by accessing the Environment Australia home page at www.environment.gov.au.

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