When the Humane Society International (HSI) was involved in the original negotiations for the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 in the late 1990s, it promised a new era of environmental protection. The Federal Government had recognised its obligation to protect our environment at a national level and introduced...
HSI has long been an advocate of the need for strong environmental laws and more recently we have actively called for new laws as we face an unprecedented biodiversity crisis in Australia.
Last week the Places You Love alliance (of which HSI is a founding member) convened a Symposium in Canberra titled ‘Better laws for a better planet: A symposium on the future of Australia’s environment laws’ together with the Australian Committee for IUCN, the National Environmental Law Association and the Australian Panel of Experts on Environmental Law (APEEL). The day was an opportunity for a number of eminent legal experts to provide their thoughts on what Australia’s environmental laws should look like into the future.
Lawyers, academics, policy makers and NGOs were all in agreement – we need a new national vision to deal with the challenges currently facing our environment that our current laws just don’t sufficiently address. Existing laws were drafted 20 years ago and therefore we shouldn’t expect them to fully deal with the challenges we are facing today. Whilst there was the view, shared by HSI, that current laws held great promise when enacted 20 years ago, there was resounding agreement that their potential has not been met. So it is time for a new framework to help restore our environment and confidence in the laws to protect the things in our environment we hold close to our hearts.
Last week’s Symposium in Canberra was an opportunity for a number of eminent legal experts to provide their thoughts on what Australia’s environmental laws should look like into the future. Image: Australian Committee for IUCN
HSI will be taking our campaign forward through our work in the Places You Love alliance, making sure our politicians hear the growing support for new laws and commit to action as part of the upcoming Federal election. Working with the Environmental Defenders Office of NSW, we will also be promoting the specific clauses needed in the biodiversity related sections of our next generation environment laws to address the challenges we face.
Meanwhile, there is another constituency trying to pull the Government in the other direction. Responding to them, the Government has just announced the establishment of an independent review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 focussed purely on the agriculture sector. We are concerned this may be a precursor to watering down our environment laws. Whilst this is a disappointing turn of events, public opinion is more clearly on our side as most Australians recognise that the places they love need more protection, not less. Now more than ever we need your help.
Please sign our letter below to Australia’s major parties calling for support for new #naturelaws that measure up to the threats bearing down on our nation’s wildlife and their habitats.