The federal government faces pressure from within to go ahead with amendments which would close off special privileges for environmental activists to challenge approvals for major projects. From The Australian today:
Malcolm Turnbull faces an internal push to close a loophole used by environmentalists to delay approvals for the Adani coalmine in Queensland amid questions about the handling of the case.
Queensland Nationals senator Matt Canavan wants the government to revisit an amendment to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act that would limit the ability of environmentalists to challenge approvals based on ministerial consideration of conservation advice.
Senator Canavan will also recall senior officials from the Environment Department to a November 12 estimates hearing as he seeks a further explanation as to why conservation advice on two species was not passed to Minister Greg Hunt, causing a delay in the project after a court challenge by green groups.
Restoring the common law position on party’s ability to initiate court proceedings (someone directly affected by the development) would be sensible, and bring some legal certainty to an area that sorely needs it. As my colleague Brett Hogan explained last week, this green lawfare won’t go away anytime soon. In the meantime, Australia risks becoming an investment no-go zone.