The theme for this year’s International Day of Forests (21 March) is ‘forests and health’. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the important role that forests play in our lives and whether our national environmental laws, which are currently under review, are doing enough to ensure that future generations...
Today the anticipated 10 yearly review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) was announced by the Federal Environment Minister the Hon Sussan Ley MP.
The review, to be chaired by Professor Graeme Samuel AC, is a requirement under the Act providing a once-in-a-decade opportunity to ensure that the Act is delivering on environmental outcomes.
HSI is responsible for more than 70 threatened species listings and millions of hectares of precious wildlife habitat protected through the EPBC Act but the time has come for an overhaul of the Act and introduction of strong new environment laws to face the challenges of the 21st Century.
Australia is facing an extinction crisis which means that it is essential that this review is used to develop strong laws that are better able to tackle the unprecedented threats facing our native wildlife and their habitats and stop the extinction crisis.
248 scientists agree. More needs to be done to address the extinction crisis and strong laws is an essential element. We need national leadership and a major investment in funding to accompany new laws to halt the extinction crisis. We also need to ensure that the science we have demonstrating the scale of the problem is heard, and that our laws are designed so that science always prevails over politics.
HSI, together with EDO NSW, has developed detailed policy advice on what new laws should look like and we look forward to working with Professor Samuel and the rest of the panel to provide them with our recommendations of what needs to be done to ensure that our national environmental laws are able to tackle the significant challenges.
Alexia Wellbelove is a Senior Program Manager at the Humane Society International (HSI). She joined the organisation in 2009. With over two decades experience in conservation her current focus is environmental policy, marine conservation (particularly marine mammal and fisheries bycatch) and wildlife trade. She helped found the Places You Love alliance and serves on a number of state and federal government committees. She has represented Australia as a member of the delegations to both the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).
Image: Shin Okamoto