Re: EPBC Act, species habitat and controlled actions

To: <>, <>
Subject: Re: EPBC Act, species habitat and controlled actions
From: Simon Mustoe <>
Date: Sun, 21 Jun 2009 06:53:26 +0000

I am all for removing obstacles where there is unnecessary cost. Sadly, most 
projects I work on over-spend on many areas for which there is PR gain but 
underspend on the really important landscape protection stuff.

Unfortunately, public opponents like to see project approvals stretch out. By 
using bureaucracy for their benefit, they can win a war of attrition against 
developers. However, I don't blame public opponents for this as they have no 
money, very limited appeal rights and no human rights legislation, so there is 
little more that can be done. If developers accepted this, then they would (and 
many do) begin their consultation early and look for the line of least 
resistance. But more importantly than that, they also need to deliver - it's no 
good saying one thing and then failing dismally. The public have been burnt too 
many times and the Australian economy now suffers the effect of extreme 
scepticism caused by its own failures in the past.

Whatever happens, there will be an increase in expectation for more rigorous 
assessment in the coming years. So even if efforts to shortcut processes 
succeed in policy, it will just result in greater and greater levels of 
friction with the public, and more time wasted. If we begin to do assessments 
thoroughly and accord with all the natural principles of assessment we might 
find that approvals would come faster and there would be much less financial 
risk. Anyone interested - see International Association for Impact Assessment 
(1999) Principles of Environmental Impact Assessment Best Practice.

I think governments and particularly larger companies are beginning to
realise this. Bird groups are particularly important and it amazes me
how little they are engaged in planning...since most bird groups have
links to all the amateur naturalist groups in an area, it makes sense
to consult with them early and first. Perhaps BA should put together a
national register?



> From: 
> To: 
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Re: EPBC Act, species habitat and controlled 
> actions
> Date: Sun, 21 Jun 2009 13:03:41 +1000
> The review of the EPBC Act is entering its final stages but it is not too
> late to register interest.  There may be opportunities to show  concerns
> about this and other cases, and reinforce what Simon Mustoe said about the
> lack of powers relating to landscapes/communities.
> The rumours however are that "development" interests are getting their way
> about speeding decisions (i.e. removing obstacles).
> Michael Norris
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