The Queensland Bilateral Agreement EPBC Explained
The Queensland Bilateral Agreement with the Commonwealth on Environmental Assessments under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) is a key agreement between the state of Queensland and the Australian government. It allows for the streamlining of environmental assessments and approvals for development projects in Queensland, while also maintaining high environmental standards.
The EPBC Act is a federal law that regulates actions that are likely to have a significant impact on matters of national environmental significance, such as endangered species and their habitats, World Heritage properties, and wetlands of international importance. Before any major development project can be approved, it must undergo an assessment to determine its potential environmental impacts and any mitigation measures that can be taken to prevent or minimize harm.
Under the Queensland Bilateral Agreement, the state of Queensland has the power to assess and approve certain types of projects that would otherwise require approval from the federal government. These include projects relating to mining, port development, and other infrastructure projects. This means that developers only have to go through one assessment process, rather than two, reducing costs and delays.
However, this does not mean that environmental protection is compromised. The Queensland government must still meet strict environmental standards set by the federal government, as well as any additional standards set by the state. Additionally, the federal government retains the power to intervene if it believes that the state government is not meeting its obligations under the EPBC Act.
The Queensland Bilateral Agreement has been controversial in some quarters, with critics arguing that it undermines the important role of the federal government in protecting Australia`s unique environment. However, supporters argue that it provides a more efficient and streamlined process for assessing and approving development projects, while still maintaining strong environmental protections.
Overall, the Queensland Bilateral Agreement on Environmental Assessments under the EPBC Act is an important agreement that balances the needs of development with the needs of environmental protection. It allows for greater efficiency in the assessment and approval of development projects, while still maintaining high environmental standards that are critical to preserving Australia`s unique and irreplaceable natural heritage.