Media Release Threatened Species

National EPA needs strong environment laws

April 16, 2024
  • Current nature laws are failing oceans, endangered species, Great Barrier Reef
  • EPA alone will not deliver on promise of zero extinctions – Albanese government must commit to full package of legislation this term
  • Labor government says it will introduce new environment laws in stages

The Albanese government’s proposed national environment protection agency must lay the groundwork for improved environmental protection this term, the Australian Marine Conservation Society said today after Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek announced the government will introduce legislation to establish Environment Protection Australia and a new environmental data division, Environment Information Australia.

AMCS Chief Executive Darren Kindleysides said: “The establishment of Environment Protection Australia and the environmental data division must lay the groundwork for stronger environmental protection in Australia that our coasts and oceans so desperately need. 

“These new institutions are essential and welcome, but on their own they will not enable the government to meet its commitment to zero new extinctions. Nature can’t wait any longer for the full package of reforms.

“The EPA announcement must not be an excuse for further delay. Our coasts, oceans and wildlife urgently need the full package of legislation introduced this term, so a new EPA can uphold and enforce effective laws.

“The Great Barrier Reef is suffering an unprecedented fifth mass coral bleaching in just eight years, so it’s imperative that new nature laws protect nature from the impacts of climate change.

“The Albanese government has a golden opportunity in this term to provide nature with what it needs – increased protection of our environment, landscapes and endangered species for generations to come. 

Our current federal environment laws, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, are failing nature. Our oceans are facing greater threats than ever before and an extinction crisis. 

“The urgency and need for reform is clear. The EPBC Act has completely failed to protect the Maugean skate which is hurtling towards extinction, with salmon farming increasing 20-fold in its only home after it was declared endangered. Those laws are also failing the Great Barrier Reef, where tree clearing in Reef catchments continues to send sediment and pollution into Reef waters when the World Heritage natural icon is already fighting for its life against climate change.

“We need new environment laws that actually protect and restore nature and give our endangered species such as the Australian sea lion a fighting chance, with an independent national environment protection agency enforcing strong national environmental standards.

“The Albanese Government must deliver the full package of new nature laws before the election.”