Prof Graeme Samuel AC has handed down his Final Report from his review of the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Australia needs stronger laws, including an Independent regulator, to protect our unique and outstanding biodiversity and the reverse the current decline in habitat quality and quantity.
There is a plethora of data available that shows our biodiversity is in serious and accelerating decline. This review provides a critical opportunity to better manage our unique biodiversity for the long term. Watering down, cherry-picking or ignoring its recommendations will further entrench the known risks to our plants and animals. If this is what our legislators decide, honesty is required. We cannot claim innocence or ignorance as previous generations may have done, or that existing measures are adequate.
Key elements to improve nature laws proposed in Professor Samuel’s report include:
- Strong, outcome focussed National Environmental Standards to guide decision-making.
- Independent oversight (and audit) to build confidence that the EPBC Act and the National Environmental Standards are working.
- A rigorous compliance and enforcement regime to ensure compliance and enforcement of environmental approval conditions.
- Outcomes-focused law with monitoring and reporting on environmental outcomes.
- Recognition that environmental protection under Regional Forestry Agreements is insufficient.
- Mandated transparently around how Indigenous knowledge and science is considered in decision-making.
- The need for immediate reform and Commonwealth oversight.
Make a difference to environmental laws – urge these cross benchers to reject the EPBC streamlining:
- Stirling Griff (Centre Alliance, SA): firstname.lastname@example.org, (02) 6277 3128
- Rex Patrick (Independent, SA): email@example.com, 1300 556 115 (toll free)
- Jacqui Lambie (Jacqui Lambie Network, Tasmania): firstname.lastname@example.org, (03) 6431 3112
- Malcolm Roberts (One Nation, Queensland): email@example.com, (07) 3221 9099
- Pauline Hanson (One Nation, Queensland): firstname.lastname@example.org, (07) 3221 7644
Please also email a copy to email@example.com.
NPAQ made a submission to the EPBC Act Review on 26 March. We recommended an expansion of the matters of national environmental significance to include national parks among other improvements.
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