The Biodiversity Legislation (Priority Reforms) Bill 2014 (Bill) has recently been introduced into the Legislative Council by the Hon Lynn MacLaren.
The bill is interesting in that it proposes a number of changes to both the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (WA) and the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA).
In summary, the Bill seeks to, among other things:
Whilst it remains to be seen if the proposed Bill will receive serious consideration, there are a number of amendments that are worth looking at, including the provisions which seek to introduce formal mechanisms for the listing (and modification of listing) of threatened species and the introduction of an appeal right for clearing proposals to the SAT. These changes have the potential to bring more certainty and transparency to a system that has historically caused significant problems for landowners and developers due to, among other things, the limited avenues of appeal.
However, there are aspects of the proposed Bill that will not be met with similar enthusiasm, including the proposal to increase the environmental penalty provisions and the introduction of compensation for injurious affection when a piece of land cannot be developed due to the presence of a threatened ecological community. While it would be extremely beneficial for landowners to be able to be compensated for such occurrences, it is hard to envisage the current Government passing legislation which would open them up to compensation claims.
Please contact us if you have any queries in relation to this Bill, or any other planning, environment or land compensation matters. Lavan Legal will monitor the progress of this Bill, and will update you in the event it is progressed further.