Marine life to be protected in new environment laws

NEW proposals to protect dugongs and turtles are set to become law, after the Abbott government accepted the Senate's call to remove other controversial parts of the laws.

The original proposal from Environment Minister Greg Hunt would have prevented community legal challenges to several federally-approved resources projects.

Among them, the controversial Abbot Point expansion, Waratah Coal mine and gas plants on Curtis Island, would have been protected from legal challenges even if the minister failed to note official advice related to threatened species.

But those provisions were rejected by the Senate, through amendments from Greens Senator Larissa Waters, late last year.

This morning in the House of Representatives, the government effectively endorsed that change, which removed the contentious parts of the bill, readying it for Royal Assent.

The bill will however maintain the government's aims to increase penalties on illegal dugong and turtle hunting and increase funding to protect both species.