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'Broad consensus' on enviro law overhaul

·1-min read

The man who found Australia's environmental protection laws were not fit for purpose has highlighted the broad support for his review's findings.

Former competition watchdog boss Graeme Samuel has called for a major overhaul of environmental laws, including a new set of national standards and the establishment of an independent monitoring body.

He also found developers had been strangled in red tape.

The government is focused on cutting red tape by shifting its decision-making to the states, while insisting that tougher standards are on the way.

It has also introduced draft laws for a national environmental assurance commissioner to focus on how effectively decisions are being made, instead of protection standards.

"I think we've run out of time, haven't we," Professor Samuel joked on Wednesday when asked about the government's response to his review.

He said it was unusual for there to be broad consensus on the review, as he had consulted with nearly 30 groups across science, mining, the petroleum industry, environmentalists and businesses.

"And what we got was an agreement ... that's a really nice position for government to be in," he said at the National Press Club in Canberra.

"What government does now is entirely for them."

His report concluded the environment had suffered from two decades of failure by government to improve protections designed to ensure the survival of Australia's wildlife and unique places.