Australia’s environment is in bad shape, according to the Federal Government’s State of the Environment report released today. The report, released every five years, found that Australia’s environment is ‘poor and deteriorating’, and that the laws in place to protect it are only partially effective. 

The report is another entry in a mounting list of evidence that our current environment laws are not strong enough to protect nature, says conservation group Humane Society International. The introduction of strong National Environment Standards, proper funding and an independent Environment Protection Agency are critical if the issues raised in the report have any hope of being addressed or reversed. 

The report finds that many of the pressures on the environment have increased in intensity in the five years since the last report. It also acknowledges the increasing impacts of climate change and extreme weather on biodiversity. Sadly, the report reveals an overall decline in plants and animals across the country, and an 8% increase in listed threatened species, noting that biodiversity is monitored very poorly making it difficult to assess changes over time. 

This damning report comes mere months after ANAO released their report on Management of Threatened Species and Ecological Communities which found that laws are failing to protect threatened species and habitat due to failures in application and monitoring. 

Evan Quartermain, Head of Programs for Humane Society International, said, “The findings of this report are further proof that we need stronger laws to prevent bad decision making over the environment. An independent Environment Protection Agency and Strong National Environmental Standards are crucial reforms needed to start reversing the shocking declines we see in the report. We look forward to the new Albanese Government moving swiftly, the next State of the Environment report cannot be more of the same.” 

The current Federal Government has promised better laws for nature, an independent Federal Environment Protection Agency, and funding for recovering threatened species through the Saving our Species program to clear the existing backlog of recovery plans and to implement the Koala Conservation Strategy. HSI is looking forward to seeing these promises delivered—our wildlife depends on it. 

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