Scott Morrison’s government has put forward the “Streamlining environmental approvals bill” which would weaken our national environment laws. The bill would transfer all project approvals to state and territory governments. This includes uranium mine projects.
Ignores its own committees advice
The “Streamlining environmental approvals bill” (August 2020) has been tabled in parliament before the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) review Committee have submitted their final report. The final report is due in October 2020. It also ignores advice from Committee in their Interim Report (July 2020).
The Committee called for ‘national environmental standards’. They called for accreditation systems for state and territory governments laws and processes for project assessments and approvals. Not even these small improvements are included in the bill. Find out more about the Committees proposal and risks for uranium projects.
And so the sad reality is that we are fighting to protect a system that is deeply flawed and deficient. We should be in progressive discussions about improving our national environmental laws.
Existing laws are failing & new laws are even worse
Existing environmental laws have failed to protect the environment from the threats of uranium mining. Uranium mining in Australia has been plagued with, leaks, spills, accidents and failed attempts to rehabilitate. What is proposed would further weaken this system.
The last four uranium mine approvals under the current system have seen substantial increase in conditions through federal approvals. This shows that state approvals and conditions have been weak. Federal conditions have been stronger – but not strong enough. New laws would remove this layer of federal oversight and ability for the federal government to strengthen approval conditions.
In short this means that there would be no checks and balances for environmental protection. If a state decision is weak there is no federal government role to strengthen conditions for environmental protection.