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15th June - National environment law headed in the right direction      

National environment law headed in the right direction – Labor makes the commitment

15th June 2016

Humane Society International (HSI) today commended the Australian Labor Party for its commitment to the advancement of national environment law in Australia.

HSI Campaign Director Michael Kennedy said today, “On behalf of our 65,000 members, HSI had requested specific commitments from the Australian Labor Party, and other political parties, in relation to the retention of Commonwealth environment powers, and those responses are still coming in. The Greens have already met the desired legislative policy goals and today HSI is pleased to hear the ALP commit to national environmental law reform”.

In February this year, HSI presented all political parties with a list of key amendments required to the Commonwealth’s EPBC Act (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, 1999) that focused particularly upon the protection of critical habitats and threatened ecological communities, proposing a prohibition on the clearing of such habitats. The work also proposed the establishment of an independent National Environment Commission”. HSI has also been working with the Places You Love Alliance and its 40 member groups to promote ‘next generation’ environment laws.

Mr Kennedy continued, “In particular, the ALP has committed to re-establishing the National Government’s responsibility for ‘Matters of National Environment Significance’, retaining Commonwealth powers of project approval, exploring the options for the establishment of an Environment Protection Authority; and restoring public access to the courts.”

“We are also very pleased that the ALP would seek immediate reform of the EPBC Act; improve protections for the critical habitats of endangered species; move to stop the disastrous new land clearing laws proposed in NSW; help the Queensland Government to enact strong land clearing policies; and restore funding to the Environmental Defenders Offices around the country.

“HSI would still like to see a definitive commitment from the ALP to prohibit the destruction of critically endangered and endangered Threatened Ecological Communities and critical habitats under the new law reforms, and further urges the Coalition Government to call-off the “big-end-of-town” desires to gut Federal environment legislation,” Mr Kennedy concluded.

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