Australia’s Faunal Extinction Crisis Senate Inquiry

On 27 June 2018, the Senate referred the matter of Australia’s faunal extinction crisis to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by 4 December 2018 (this time has now been extended by the Senate to 13 November 2019). The Inquiry aims to provide insight into the wider ecological impact of faunal extinction, the adequacy of Commonwealth environmental laws and existing monitoring processes, assessment processes and compliance mechanisms for enforcing federal environmental law, among other things.

An interim report was tabled on 3 April 2019 that reports the committee’s work to date. The report focused on the effectiveness of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (“EPBC Act”) including:
  1. An overview of the faunal extinction crisis, key threats to the survival of Australia’s unique fauna;
  2. Considerations of evidence received regarding the effectiveness of the EPBC Act; and
  3. Potential reforms of the EPBC Act.
The Committee articulated that the EPBC Act is struggling to meet the scale of challenges that our environment faces, namely the threats to our faunal species, and that the Commonwealth is lacking an independent institution to administer and oversee Australia’s framework for environmental approvals and compliance. The Committee therefore recommended that the Commonwealth develops new environmental laws to replace to EPBC Act, and a federal environmental protection agency (EPA).

Learn more about this law reform project and access the Interim Report from the Committee here.

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