Media Release Marine Conservation

Labor’s independent environment watchdog pledge is strong commitment to our oceans and marine wildlife

May 20, 2022

The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has welcomed Labor’s pledge to establish an independent environment watchdog, collect better environmental data and work with stakeholders to undertake much needed environmental law reform if they are elected following tomorrow’s poll.

The party has committed to the establishment of an independent national Environment Protection Agency which will act as a strong cop on the beat enforcing the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.

AMCS CEO Darren Kindleysides said, if enacted properly, the policies will bring a desperately needed boost to the protection of our oceans and threatened wildlife, which has been hamstrung by outdated and ineffective laws, weak enforcement and poor resourcing.

“Urgent action needs to be taken to address the extinction crisis facing our wildlife and this starts with robust policy and laws. We welcome the much needed commitment to establish an independent EPA. A strong independent cop on the beat is an essential element to restore public trust in decision making and ensure our environment laws are properly enforced,” said Mr Kindleysides.

“Our ocean wildlife faces more pressure than ever before and there are several iconic marine species in decline that urgently need stronger environment laws, including sawfish, sharks, sea turtles and sea lions.

“We are pleased that Labor intends to take a leadership role on international commitments to nature, including through an annual ministerial statement.”

Today’s commitments are further to those made by Labor last week to establish a Saving Native Species Program with $224.5 million over the forward estimates to arrest species decline and clear the backlog of overdue Recovery Plans. It was also reported by media last week that it will respond to an independent review of the national environment laws if elected to government.

AMCS is calling on all parties to commit to delivering better laws for nature, an independent EPA and significant funding for recovering threatened species.