09 February 2012

Significant flaws in EEZ bill

The proposed Economic Exclusive Zone legislation has some significant flaws that undermine its environmental purpose, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright told select committee today.

The legislation is intended to regulate activities in the EEZ such as deepwater oil exploration and phosphate mining.

Dr Wright says environmental protection of the EEZ is long overdue but needs to be done well.

"While I welcome this legislation I have some serious concerns about whether it can sufficiently protect this huge area of ocean.

"This legislation should be more focused on the environment; there is other legislation that provides economic balance.

"The international community has given us the right to develop these ocean resources under the Law of the Sea, but there are aspects of this Bill that are out of step with this Law.

"Thankfully most of these problems can be fixed with small changes in wording. I would hope that these changes are made."

ENDS

A copy of the submission is available here

A copy of the handout provided to select committee is available here