The statutory review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) commenced on 29 October 2019. Professor Graeme Samuel AC was appointed as the independent reviewer. An Expert Panel supported and provided advice to him on specific issues.
The review was undertaken to look at how the EPBC Act has been operating, and any changes needed for Australia to support ecologically sustainable development into the future.
What is the EPBC Act?
The EPBC Act is Australia’s central piece of national environmental law. The EPBC Act and the Commonwealth’s role in environmental protection focuses on matters of national significance.
The review process
The EPBC Act requires a review every ten years to examine the operation of the EPBC Act, and the extent to which its objects have been met.
The Minister for the Environment, the Hon Sussan Ley MP, appointed an independent reviewer to undertake the review. The Reviewer, Professor Graeme Samuel AC, was supported by an Expert Panel and drew on other technical expertise as needed.
All Australians were invited to participate in the review. There were two main ways that views could be provided for consideration during the review:
- a written submission at key points, or
- general comments about the EPBC Act until the Interim Report was released.
The review involved extensive consultation with interested stakeholders including industry, Indigenous Australians and environmental groups.
Key milestones in the review process are shown in the timeline to the right.
The Reviewer and Expert Panel
The review was undertaken by Professor Graeme Samuel AC, with specialist expertise in public policy in economic reform and regulation.
Professor Samuel was supported by an Expert Panel who brought expertise and experience in industry, environmental law, agriculture and Indigenous culture and heritage. Professor Samuel drew on other technical expertise as required.
Terms of reference
The Minister for the Environment, the Hon Sussan Ley MP, set Terms of reference that defined the scope and timing of the review.
The review examined the operation of the Act and the extent to which its objects had been achieved.