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Monday, 17 June 2013
Page: 3144


Senator McLUCAS (QueenslandMinister for Human Services) (21:02): The government does not support the proposed amendments. I indicated earlier why this particular amendment would not be a sensible course of action. The government has brought forward this amendment bill after the failure of some states to satisfy the community about the rigour of their assessment and decision-making processes. We remain supportive of the provisions of the bill which ensure that states cannot be delegated the capacity to make decisions under national environmental law about water resources.

I reiterate: while there is widespread understanding of the standards which have to be met in decisions about other matters of national environmental significance, this is a new matter of national environmental significance. Before we seek to delegate such powers, it is important that we develop standards through mechanisms such as the scientific committee. Given the high levels of community concern about this matter, it is also important to maintain stronger control over where the decisions are made to approve such projects.