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Notice given 13 May 2008

Senator Siewert: To move—That—

(1) The Senate notes the continuing decline and extinction of a significant proportion of Australia’s unique plants and animals, and the likelihood that accelerating climate change will exacerbate challenges faced by Australian species.

(2) The following matter be referred to the Environment, Communications and the Arts Committee for inquiry and report by 27 November 2008:

The operation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), with particular reference to:

(a) the need for legislative reform as a result of the findings of the Australian National Audit Office, Audit report no. 38 of 2002-03, Referrals, Assessments and Approvals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 ;

(b) the effectiveness of the EPBC Act to protect critical habitats of threatened species and ecological communities, and the potential for measures to improve their recovery;

(c) the cumulative impacts of EPBC Act approvals on threatened species and ecological communities, for example on Cumberland Plain Woodland, Cassowary habitat and Grassy White Box Woodlands;

(d) the effectiveness of past government responses to key threats identified within the EPBC Act, including land-clearing, climate change and invasive species, and potential for future measures to build environmental resilience and facilitate adaptation within a changing climate;

(e) lessons learnt from the first 10 years of operation of the EPBC Act; and

(f) the effectiveness of Regional Forest Agreements, in protecting forest species and forest habitats where the EPBC Act does not directly apply.