A Morrison government plan to change Australia’s environment laws to allow development approval powers to be handed to the states has hit a further roadblock, with three key crossbench senators saying in a report they will not support them.
The crossbenchers’ opposition means that, together with Labor and the Greens, the Morrison government’s laws would be voted down in the Senate.
But one crossbench senator told Guardian Australia he could change his mind once he had seen details in documents that the government has so far withheld.
A rushed Senate inquiry into the controversial changes delivered four reports late Friday, with Labor, the Greens and a crossbench group all confirming their opposition.
The government had gagged debate to push the legislation through the lower house – a move that outraged the Greens and Labor.
A final report from a major review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, carried out by Prof Graeme Samuel, was handed to the environment minister, Sussan Ley, in early November.
That report supported a move to devolve powers to the states, even though Guardian Australia has revealed the government was making moves to devolve powers months before the Samuel review.
Samuel’s interim report, released in July, found the environment was in unsustainable decline and the EPBC Act was not fit-for-purpose.
In their dissenting report to the inquiry, the crossbench senators Rex Patrick, Jacqui Lambie and Stirling Griff said they could not support the bill while key information was withheld……… https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/nov/27/key-crossbench-senators-say-they-wont-support-bid-to-change-australias-environment-laws