Queensland says it will resist a Morrison government push for states to take on greater responsibility for environmental decision-making unless it backs stronger national standards to protect wildlife. The federal Coalition is attempting to change national environment laws to allow it to sign bilateral deals with the states and territories to give them “single touch” environment approval powers for significant developments. Critics say it is pushing ahead with the change without having formally responded to the recommendations of the former competition watchdog Graeme Samuel’s statutory review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation [EPBC] Act, which was released in January . Samuel’s review found the laws had been ineffective in protecting the country’s wildlife, that the nation’s environment was in unsustainable decline and called for an overhaul. Queensland’s environment minister, Meaghan Scanlon, said the commonwealth must respond fully to the Samuel review, including introducing strong national environmental standards, before the state would seriously discuss taking on approval powers. Speaking at a forum of conservationists on Wednesday night, Scanlon said she had written to her federal environment counterpart, Sussan Ley, urging her to respond to all 38 of Samuel’s recommendations. “The Samuel review says those recommendations should not be cherry-picked, […]

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