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Recommendation 1

Matters of national environmental significance should be focused on Commonwealth responsibilities for the environment.

  1. The water MNES (section 24D/24E) should be amended to apply only to cross-border water resources. Any action that is likely to have a significant impact on cross-border water resources should be subject to the trigger. Restrictions should be removed where they prevent other parties from being accredited to undertake approvals of proposals assessed under the water trigger. This amendment should occur in the second tranche of reforms.
  2. The nuclear MNES (section 21/22A) should be retained. In the first tranche of reforms, the Australian Government should immediately adopt the recommended National Environmental Standard for the protection of the environment from nuclear actions. In the second tranche of reform, the EPBC Act and the regulatory arrangements of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency should be aligned, to support the implementation of best-practice international approaches based on risk of harm to the environment, including the community.

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