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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, has welcomed the Federal Government’s response to Professor Graeme Samuel’s 2020 review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.

“It’s good to see the Federal Government commit to a raft of changes to the EPBC Act, including introducing strengthened environmental standards and establishing an independent environment protection agency,” Mr Wilkie said. “The EPBC Act is weak, outdated and fails to deliver positive environmental outcomes. These new reforms will go a significant way towards protecting our threatened species and ecosystem and help reverse the damage to the environment.

“Frankly it’s scandalous that the former Coalition Government failed to formally respond to the 2020 review and instead cherry picked just some of the recommendations. That the new EPA agency will have the power to decide whether or not developments proceed, and there will be a system implemented to identify areas that should be fully protected from development, will put more trust in the process and remove political influence.

“However, as noted by a number of conservation groups, there are still shortcomings. Most notably, there is too little consideration of climate change on the environment, a lack of urgency in implementation and uncertainty over funding. The Government has done well today, but clearly there’s still more work to be done if we’re to be genuinely fair dinkum about protecting the environment.”