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The Federal Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Streamlining Environmental Approvals) Bill 2020 is environmental vandalism in the extreme. It completely ignores Professor Graeme Samuel AC’s interim recommendations to accompany changes to the Act with stringent national standards and an independent regulator. And it hands decision-making to state and territory governments who have shown time and time again to be conflicted and incapable of protecting the environment.

The watering down of the EPBC Act is especially alarming for Tasmania. The Tasmanian Government is determined to progress the Major Projects Bill which will allow it to fast-track dodgy projects, so now more than ever Tasmanians need the protection of effective federal environmental legislation.

The passage of the amendment through the House of Representatives this afternoon was also a chilling demonstration of the Government’s complete contempt for democracy. Most Members of the House were prevented from speaking, and foreshadowed amendments were blocked without debate. The Government acted again like an elected dictatorship.

The Federal Government provided the country today with a breathtaking insight into their contempt for the environment and fascination with making money at any cost. Shame on the lot of them.