The environmental protection and biodiversity conservation (EPBC) bilateral agreement in Tasmania is a major milestone in the state`s environmental protection efforts. This agreement aims to reduce duplication and streamline the process of assessing environmental impacts of proposed development in Tasmania.
Under the EPBC bilateral agreement, the Tasmanian government will take on responsibility for conducting environmental assessments and approvals for activities that were previously assessed by the federal government. This includes activities such as forestry, aquaculture, and tourism developments.
The agreement was signed in January 2021 and is a result of years of negotiations between the Tasmanian and federal governments. The aim of the agreement is to improve the efficiency of the assessment process, while still ensuring that the highest environmental standards are met.
One of the key benefits of the EPBC bilateral agreement is that it will reduce the regulatory burden on businesses and developers. Previously, they had to navigate a complex and time-consuming process involving both state and federal government assessments. This led to delays and uncertainty, which could discourage investment in Tasmania.
Another benefit is that the agreement will allow for greater involvement of the Tasmanian community in the decision-making process. The state government will be required to consult with the public and other stakeholders before making decisions on proposed development.
The EPBC bilateral agreement has not been without controversy, however. Some environmental groups have expressed concern that the agreement may lead to weaker environmental standards in Tasmania. They argue that the state government may be more inclined to approve developments that have a negative impact on the environment, in order to attract investment and boost the economy.
Despite these concerns, the Tasmanian and federal governments have stressed that the EPBC bilateral agreement will maintain the same high standards of environmental protection as the previous system. They have also emphasised the importance of balancing economic development with environmental conservation.
In conclusion, the EPBC bilateral agreement in Tasmania represents a significant step forward in the state`s environmental protection efforts. While there are valid concerns about the potential impact on the environment, the agreement has the potential to reduce delays and uncertainty for businesses, and increase community involvement in the decision-making process. As Tasmania continues to balance economic development with environmental conservation, the EPBC bilateral agreement will play an important role in shaping the state`s future.