ACF Boroondara: We Need Stronger Environmental Laws For Nature

The law created to protect the Australian environment is known as the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act – quite a mouthful.  It is usually referred to as the EPBC Act, and has just been reviewed for the second time since its passage twenty years ago.

Sadly, according to Professor Graeme Samuel, who reviewed and reported on the Act, it is not doing its job.  Our beloved species and ecosystems are in decline, and the Act must be overhauled to make it effectively serve both the environment and Australian communities. Unique critters like the iconic koala, majestic red goshawk and charismatic greater glider have suffered huge losses of habitat and these losses are contributing significantly to population decline, threatening with extinction. These are just a few examples of how the act isn’t doing its job. Here are recommendations on how we can strengthen it so it protects nature and communities:

  • We need national environmental standards, which apply to the whole of Australia, and are enforceable. This is so we can make sure we’re consistently protecting our wonderful wildlife and rugged places across the whole country.
  • We need independent oversight and enforcement at the national level, consisting of an Assurance Commissioner, as well as a Compliance and Enforcement office.
  • The report also contains recommendations concerning the emission of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) that contribute to climate change.
  • Currently, Regional Forest Agreements between the Federal Government and State Governments effectively exempt native forest logging from our national environment laws. Allowing our gorgeous native forests to be logged, thus damaging our ecosystems, and destroying animal habitat. The report states that the new national standards should apply to native forests logging and the exemption should be abolished.

ACF Boroondara loves nature, and we want to see the act strengthened so that it can effectively protect our unique plants and animals. We encourage you to contact your federal and state members of parliament, to express your support for protecting the environment through the implementation of the final report recommendations.  Our environmental laws need to be strong, consistent, and national, overseen by an independent regulator, and firmly enforced.  Let’s get going, and contact our MPs and local councillors by email, letter and telephone, to let them know that we love our environment and our native creatures, and we really support an overhauled and effective EPBC Act.

Jean, on behalf of ACF Community Boroondara

ACF Community Boroondara is part of a network of independently organised, non-partisan, volunteer-run groups in the ACF community.