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Does the EPBC Act Protect the Environment?


Baxter, TI, Does the EPBC Act Protect the Environment?, Australia's Third Wild Law Conference Abstracts Book, 16-18 September 2011, Griffith University, Brisbane, pp. 10. (2011) [Conference Extract]


This paper argues that Australia’s omnibus environmental statute, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth), does not even aspire to protect the environment, much less achieve this vitally necessary goal. Rather, the Act’s first-listed object is ‘to provide for the protection of the environment, especially those aspects of the environment that are matters of national environmental significance’ (emphasis added).1 It follows from Federal Court decisions in Brown v Forestry Tasmania2 that the words ‘provide for’ relegate this object to mere ‘planning for or making arrangements for’ a facilitative framework. Within that, limited values of ‘those aspects of the environment that are matters of national environmental significance’ may enjoy legal protection from significant impacts of new ‘actions’. Recent reviews of the Act provide opportunities for law reform to address this and other of the Act’s defects, thereby making it a more holistic, effective and wild law.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Environmental and resources law
Research Field:Environmental law
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Environmental policy, legislation and standards
Objective Field:Environmental policy, legislation and standards not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Baxter, TI (Dr Tom Baxter)
ID Code:77249
Year Published:2011
Deposited By:Accounting and Corporate Governance
Deposited On:2012-03-22
Last Modified:2012-03-26

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