Indigenous Communities

and the Environment

Independent review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

Submission by the Indigenous Advisory Committee to Dr Allan Hawke in response to the Independent review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, May 2009

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Introduction

  1. The Indigenous Advisory Committee (IAC) was established in 2000 under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The IAC advises the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts on the operation of the EPBC Act, taking into account the significance of Indigenous peoples' knowledge of the management of land and the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. The IAC also provides an advisory role on Indigenous Protected Areas.
  2. The IAC is made up of members who are Indigenous Australians who have been selected on the basis of their expertise in Indigenous land management, conservation and cultural heritage management. The members of the IAC have a wide range of skills and knowledge in the fields of park management, Indigenous land and sea country management, health, tertiary education and local, regional and state Indigenous affairs.
  3. The IAC addresses issues relating to the EPBC Act including issues relating to activities in Commonwealth areas and activities affecting the matters of National Environmental Significance that the EPBC Act covers. These are currently World Heritage properties, Ramsar wetlands, nationally threatened species and ecological communities, migratory species, Commonwealth marine areas, nuclear actions including uranium mining, and places on the National Heritage List.
  4. The IAC also has a broader function, providing advice to the Department on the development and implementation of policies and programs that may impact upon Indigenous people. Further more the committee advises on appropriate methodologies for engaging and consulting with Indigenous Australians.
  5. The IAC acknowledges that Section 552A of the EPBC Act requires an independent review to be undertaken within 10 years of the commencement of the EPBC Act.
  6. The IAC makes this submission to Dr Allan Hawke in response to the Independent review of the EPBC Act.
  7. The IAC acknowledges and thanks Dr Allan Hawke and his review team for their participation in our meeting held on 17 March 2009, which provided a valuable opportunity for the IAC members to discuss their views on the operation of the EPBC Act.
  8. We also thank Sheryl Hedges, Kathleen Mackie, Robert Mills and Alycia Muir for their work in supporting IAC members in the development of this submission.

Cover of Independent review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

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