A BILL TO PUT THE ENVIRONMENT AT THE FOREFRONT OF PLANNING & ENVIRONMENT ACT

The Upper House on Wednesday will debate a Private Members Bill by Clifford Hayes to put the ‘Environment’ back into the Planning and Environment Act of 1987.

The Bill, if passed, will:
• Introduce a requirement for an Environmental Impact Statement to be completed on all planning applications, strengthening the requirements on decision-makers to focus on the environment. The EIS would be lodged with the responsible authority—be it local council or in some cases even government departments.

• The proposed EIS would encompass information on the project, including its environmental impacts and mitigation measures, and would be used to inform decisions made by the planning authority and responsible authority.

• The application containing the plans and the EIS will be advertised and open for objections and
submissions as in the normal application process. It will require the responsible decision-maker
to address the environmental impact in the decision-making process and respond to the applica�tion either favourably or unfavourably.

Comments attributable to Sustainable Australia MP Clifford Hayes:

“We need to amend the Planning and Environment Act to give it some environmental legitimacy. As it stands, it would be more fitting to call it the Planning and Development Act. That's why I'm fighting for change."

“In Victoria, our rate of species extinction and ecological damage is at a record high, and we need to take action before it’s too late.”

“I am contacted daily by residents and community groups who are concerned about the destruction of the environment by relentless concrete pouring and tree removal planning approvals—planning approvals that are failing the environment, destroying tree canopy and contributing to global warming."

"We are seeing the destruction of native grasslands, reduction of green wedges, decreasing wildlife corridors and an escalating urban heat island effect.”

“The goal with the Environmental Impact Statement requirement is to address the environmental impacts of a development or a proposal,not for the applicants to simply ignore any threats to our environment or continue to exploit loopholes in the current legislation.”