Submission to the EPBC Act bilateral agreement between the state and federal government

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The federal government has called for public comment on the existing bilateral agreement between the federal government and the Qld state government concerning the assessment of projects under the federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) act.

The existing agreement expires on the 13th August, and the proposal is to simply extend the current arrangements for another 5 years. The public was able to comment on this until 19th June. Under the current arrangement, the Qld government assesses the environment impact of projects on behalf of the federal government, using an accredited assessment procedure.  This is designed to streamline and simplify the assessment procedure by having the one assessing body assess projects under federal law at the same time the project is being assessed under state law.

We strongly recommended that the draft assessment bilateral agreement be amended to ensure that major state-owned projects are subject to an EPBC assessment procedure which is wholly independent of the proponent for the following 4 reasons:

1. Conflict of interest and lack of independent environmental assessment using the example of the proposed Traveston Crossing Dam.

2. Major changes in the state planning and assessment laws and procedures

3. Previous failure of SDPWOA EIS process to assess impacts on Matters of National Environmental Significance using examples from Paradise Dam and

4. Monitoring and lack of enforcement of EPBC approval conditions using examples from Paradise Dam