The Final Report of the Independent Review of the Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBCAct) (Final Report) by Professor Graeme Samuel was released on 28 January 2021. The Final Report includes 38 recommendations and three tranches of law reform to overhaul the EPBC Act. The first tranche includes recommendations to establish a full suite oflegally enforceable national environmental standards; an Environmental Assurance Commissioner(EAC); oversight committees; strong compliance and enforcement; bilateral agreement amendments; an Indigenous participation and engagement standard and process for reform, and a revised offset policy, amongst other recommendations.
The Australian Government has not made a formal response to the 38 recommendations in the Final Report. However, two Government Bills are before parliament addressing specific relatedissues. There are also threeprivate member’s Bills proposing to amend the EPBC Act that have been introduced and sent to Committee inquiries (separate legal analysis has been undertaken for these Bills).