20.191       The primary focus of this chapter has been on Commonwealth environmental laws and whether and how these laws interfere with the right to use land and water. The EPBC Act interferes with the right to use land—but only to a limited extent. The extent to which the Act interferes with a farmer’s ability to clear land was contested in this Inquiry. The ALRC concludes that the EPBC Act could be further reviewed to determine whether limits on real property rights are appropriately justified. The next scheduled independent review of the EPBC Act is to be completed by 2019. The ALRC suggests that the next appointed EPBC Act reviewer could reassess whether the interferences are proportionate and explore a range of compensatory mechanisms as part of that review. This review may also afford an opportunity for consideration of the interrelationship of Commonwealth and state laws, as this ALRC Inquiry heard that Commonwealth and state environmental laws should be considered in an integrated way.

20.192       The Water Act does not interfere in a negative way with the water entitlements in the Murray-Darling Basin that have been established under state and territory laws. An independent review of the Water Act was completed in 2014 and one of the recommendations was that the Water Act be reviewed periodically—as is the case with the EPBC Act. The ALRC concludes that it may be appropriate for the Water Act to be reviewed periodically.