Today the Australian Government announced stage two of their national environmental law reform of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act), which will see the introduction of two new environmental authorities—Environment Protection Australia (EPA) and Environment Information Australia.

Humane Society International (HSI) Australia has long been calling for a national EPA and welcomes the Government’s recognition of the importance of environmental data in reversing the extinction crisis, but is calling for the full, comprehensive reform package to be delivered this year.

Nicola Beynon, Head of Campaigns at HSI Australia said: “While the Government’s increased focus on compliance and enforcement is welcome and decades overdue, that focus alone is not enough to create the urgent change required to reverse the extinction crisis.

“Reforms committed to in the Government’s Nature Positive Plan to strictly protect critical habitat and rule out unacceptable impacts are urgently needed, and far greater resources are required.”

The animal protection and conservation organisation also cautioned that for the two new authorities to deliver meaningful gains for nature they will require the introduction of strong National Environmental Standards to guide decision making to protect and recover our threatened wildlife and their habitats.

“With more than 2,000 threatened species and ecological communities identified as facing an extinction risk, and more being added every year, imperilled wildlife cannot afford any further delays on the implementation of stronger environmental protections,” Ms Beynon said.

“This stage of the reforms must give the EPA the mandate it needs to truly protect nature. The EPA must have an independent Board and clear obligations and duties under law to protect and restore Australia’s environment. An independent EPA will need a strong set of National Environment Standards to ensure their decisions consistently put nature first.”

Environment Information Australia will play an important role in coordinating data to help in recovering threatened species, and HSI Australia is calling for the authority to have specific reporting obligations on the progress of threatened species recovery measures and strategies to control key threats.

“What has been announced today has the potential to be a good step in the right direction, but the full package of environmental reforms must be delivered in this term of parliament.

“We are also urging the federal parliament to use this opportunity to close the loopholes and exemptions in the EPBC Act, such as those that permit shark culling programs to continue without assessment, and ensure that key issues such as climate change and deforestation are controlled by the Act.”



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