Wednesday, June 12, 2024

‘Deeply flawed system’: Reforms to Australia’s broken nature law must be completed this term

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SYDNEY, Wednesday 29 May 2024 — Greenpeace Australia Pacific has expressed alarm at the lack of clear timelines for the Federal Government to deliver on its promise to reform Australia’s broken national nature law this term.

Last night the Department of Environment published the next steps in the consultation and development for the reform of Australia’s national nature law, the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The consultation plan includes six areas of focus but no clear timelines or commitment from the Government to change policy based on the consultations.

Glenn Walker, Head of Nature at Greenpeace Australia Pacific, said that almost four years have passed since the independent Samuel Review into the EPBC Act was delivered, and there should be no excuse in delivering a full and comprehensive package of reforms this term.

“Every moment delayed is a further nail in the coffin for Australia’s unique wildlife and natural environment. Australia’s existing national nature law is deeply flawed and is driving our native species to extinction. These critical reforms cannot be kicked off into the long grass.

“While we welcome the establishment of the new, properly resourced and independent EPA it will not have the teeth it needs until a new and strong national nature law also comes into place. Similarly, it is great that the EPA will be instructed to give priority to illegal deforestation, but forest destruction can also only be dealt with substantively with sorely needed legislative changes.

“It is also crucial that the EPA is given powers to assess and reject large coal and gas projects where the climate impacts on nature are assessed as significant. It just doesn’t stack up that fossil fuel mega-projects like Woodside’s Burrup Hub are being assessed under a deeply flawed system that does not adequately require the Minister to consider this.

“Our much-loved wildlife and nature can’t wait — the Albanese government must move with urgency to deliver the full package of reforms this term and demonstrate serious commitment to reversing environmental decline in this country.”

—ENDS—

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kate O’Callaghan on 0406 231 892 or [email protected]

 

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