Fed Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) (including Review of EPBC Act (2019) & EPBC Amendment Bill (2020))

Policy Description

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) is the Australian Government’s central piece of environmental legislation, providing a legal framework to protect and manage ‘matters of national environmental significance’. The legislation covers environmental assessment and approval processes for new developments in Australia, including major energy projects. The second independent review of the EPBC Act commenced in October 2019, which included a discussion regarding the inclusion of a climate trigger within the scope of the legislation. In February 2020, the EPBC Amendment (Climate Trigger) Bill 2020 was introduced to the Senate, which proposed penalties for emissions-intensive actions.

InfluenceMap Query

Energy Transition & Zero Carbon Technologies; GHG Emission Regulation

Policy Status

Active: Open to reform. Opportunity to positively influence progression of Bill.

Lobbying Overview

  • The evidence collected on corporate and industry lobbying on the EPBC Act from 2019-2021 demonstrates that corporate influence on the policy has been overwhelmingly unsupportive of increased climate ambition under the legislation.
  • In 2020, Rio Tinto and industry associations including Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia, NSW Minerals Council (NSWMC), and Queensland Resources Council directly advocated for policymakers to exclude climate change considerations and/or HH emissions requirements from the EPBC Act.
  • In 2020, Anglo American and NSWMC lobbied to repeal Section 487 of the Act which extends special legal privileges to community groups to challenge federal environmental project approvals.

Evidence Profile

162500

Policy Progress

There has been no change to the scope of the original EPBC Act to date. The recommendations of the Final Report of the Review, released in October 2020, did not support proposals to broaden the scope of ‘environmental matters’ under the EPBC Act to include climate change, in order to avoid duplication and the “muddling of responsibilities.” However, the Final Report found merit in mandating proposals assessed under the EPBC Act to “transparently disclose the full emissions profile of the development”. The reporting deadline for the EPBC Amendment (Climate Trigger) Bill 2020, which aims to broaden the scope of the original bill, is October 2021.

*The Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee was granted an extension of time to report until 20 October 2021.

Entities Engaged on Policy

The table below lists the entities tracked by InfluenceMap which have publicly engaged with the policy. InfluenceMap tracks around 300 companies and 150 industry associations globally. Each entity links back to the entities’ full InfluenceMap profile, where the evidence of its engagement can be found.

InfluenceMap Performance Band
Organization
Sector
Headquartered
D-
Anglo American Materials United Kingdom
D-
Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) Energy Australia
E-
Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Materials Australia
E-
NSW Minerals Council Materials Australia
D
Business Council of Australia All Sectors Australia
D-
Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) Materials Australia
D-
Rio Tinto Group Materials United Kingdom
D-
Woodside Energy Australia