EPBC Act Review: Jobs Win Over Litigious Green Activists

Written by:
20 July 2020
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“The recommendations of the interim report of the Independent Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) puts mainstream Australians ahead of inner-city green groups,” said Daniel Wild, Director of Research at the free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.

“The interim report’s rejection of adding a climate change trigger to the EPBC Act is a massive blow to the anti-jobs agenda of green activists and a big win for mainstream Australians.”

“Graeme Samuel’s acknowledgment that there is evidence of ‘lawfare’ reflects a growing consensus that green groups are recklessly abusing their special legal privileges to deny blue-collar Australians access to the dignity of work.”

IPA research estimated that the ‘lawfare’ provision, Section 487 of the EPBC Act, has put over $65 billion of investment at risk in Australia by holding major projects, such as dams, coal mines, and roads, up in court for a cumulative total of 10,100 days since the year 2000.

The IPA welcomes two bold initiatives announced by the federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley today which will reduce green tape and create jobs for mainstream Australians: to accredit state governments to carry out environmental assessments and approvals on the federal government’s behalf, and to explore market-based solutions to habitat rehabilitation.

“This interim report builds on the bold reforms being pursued by Ben Morton, who is the assistant minister responsible for cutting red tape, which, together, form the basis for a pro-worker and pro-jobs economic recovery agenda.”

Even members of the Labor Party, such as Senator Raff Ciccone, have recognised that changes need to be made to limit legal injunctions launched by green groups.

In a rebuff to the elitist degradation of blue-collar work by green groups, Labor Senator Ciccone over the weekend said that “there is dignity in all work, including in industries like resources, forestry, and agriculture”. And that, “workers are not always offered the respect and acknowledgement that I believe they are owed”.

Analysis released in April by the IPA found that the number of regulations enabled by the EPBC Act increased by 445% since the year 2000.

Download the report: The Growth and Complexity of Environmental Regulation.
Download the report: Section 487: How activists use red tape to stop development and jobs (2020 Update)

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