The main environmental organization in the state of Queensland has made the announcement that it will be developing a new “enforcement arm” as a direct response to the inability of the state government of Queensland to deliver on its pledges to establish an independent environmental regulator.
With the exception of Queensland, each of Australia’s other states and territories possesses its very own independent Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), the enforcement wing, with the exception of Queensland.
The state Labor government made a vow during the election in 2020 that it will “investigate and consult on” the potential of establishing an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This process started a little less than two years ago, and since then, environmental groups have gotten more frustrated by what appears to be a lack of political will to press forward with this endeavor.
The Queensland Conservation Council (QCC) has announced that it is “stepping up to fill the gap” in response to the current situation of enforcement.
“The QCC is not sitting idly by in the face of the ongoing failure of our state’s environmental laws to protect the environment we depend on,” declared Emily Kain, the chairperson of the group. “The QCC is not sitting idly by.” “The QCC is not sitting idly by.”
“We are extremely concerned about the pervasive disregard for the essential regulations that are intended to protect our environment,” you’re allowed to quote us as saying.
The Department of Environment and Science is currently acting in the capacity of regulator for the environmental community. In addition to its job as an agency that issues authorizations to environmental authorities, the Department of Environment and Science also serves in this capacity.
According to Jenny Brown, who works for the QCC, the absence of an independent EPA has made it possible for a system to develop in which breaches of environment regulations and the fines that are handed out by the department have come to be regarded as “the cost of doing business.” This is something that was made possible because of the fact that an independent EPA has not been created. Due to the absence of a self-governing EPA, this predicament was given the opportunity to worsen.
In response to this, the Conservation Council has launched a brand new business under the name Queensland Conservation Council Ltd., the mission of which will be to fulfill the roles of a quasi-regulator.
In addition to taking on potential legal challenges, “proactive actions or enforcement aimed at enforcing Queensland laws” will also be done by QCC Ltd. This company will operate separately from the organization that now acts as an umbrella for environmental nonprofits in the state of Queensland. Its very first legal action is scheduled to begin within the next few months, according to its plans.
“As private citizens, we make it a priority to investigate and confirm that our actions are in accordance with the law. Brown made it clear that “we’ve seen time and time again that communities need to step in and make sure that corporations also comply with the law.”
The newly established QCC Ltd. will rely mostly on financial support that comes in the form of donations.
According to Kain, the purpose of the organization is to “[fortify] our legacy by holding accountable those who violate environmental laws.”
According to Leanne Linard, who is the state minister for the environment, the administration kept its pledge to explore and consult on the prospect of establishing an EPA. She indicated that the administration had fulfilled its promise.
“We have been doing an in-depth investigation of the many different models that are capable of supporting an independent EPA. This investigation has included benchmarking against other jurisdictions on both the national and international levels. In addition to this, we have engaged in extensive consultation of relevant parties,” she stated.
The results of the research and the interactions with various stakeholders have been analyzed, and the government is presently thinking about the issue.
Linard noted that the department, which is the current regulator, takes its position seriously and was delighted to have the QCC support the department’s efforts. In addition, Linard stated that the department was pleased to have the QCC support the department’s efforts.