Nature is in crisis and our current laws are powerless to stop it. That’s why it’s important we get it right for future generations and the places we love.
They’re not up to the job of protecting our unique and precious wildlife and places. These laws are too weak to stop logging companies from bulldozing critically important forests or preventing coal companies from digging mines that pollute our air and water. They don’t even mention ‘climate change’.
But right now, the Albanese government is working to overhaul these laws.
With your help, we can make sure these laws actually protect nature. Over half a million people have already spoken out to create a new generation of national laws to protect and restore ecosystems and bring our wildlife back from the brink of extinction.
The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) is the central piece of Australia’s environmental protection framework. Introduced by the Howard Government, the Act came into effect in July 2000.
The EPBC Act is meant to protect nationally significant places, ecosystems and wildlife – like world heritage sites, species at risk of extinction, the Great Barrier Reef marine park and internationally significant wetlands.
Any new projects that may impact these things must get the go-ahead from the Federal Environment Minister. Now over two-decades old, the EPBC has failed to stop nature and wildlife being destroyed, putting Australian nature in a state of crisis.
Since our national nature laws were established, more than 7.7 hectares of threatened species’ habitat has been destroyed. They are barely monitored, rarely enforced and full of loopholes allowing businesses to destroy nature – leading to Australia becoming a global deforestation hotspot and world record holder for the most mammal extinctions. These weak laws have had impacts across the country and devastating effects on the nature we love, our way of life, and our health.
Weak laws have led to:
- A 60% loss of koala populations in New South Wales which has led to the species being listed as endangered in the state.
-740 fossil fuel projects given the go-ahead since this legislation was passed.
- A rocket launching facility built on critical habitat for the endangered southern emu-wren at Whalers Bay in South Australia.
The Albanese government is rewriting our national nature laws which will go to Parliament in 2024.
It’s up to all of us to let the government know ambitious and urgent action is needed to solve the extinction crisis. If we don’t get these laws right, we’re failing to protect nature now and into the future.
ACF is calling on the government to deliver eight priorities for our new nature laws:
Ask 1. A new overarching legal framework for nature protection
Ask 2. Strong and legally enforceable National Environmental Standards
Ask 3. An independent and well-funded National Environmental Protection Agency
Ask 4. Prevention of climate harm
Ask 5. Community trust and confidence in national environmental laws
Ask 6. Protection of threatened species and their habitat
Ask 7. Nuclear responsibility and protection
Ask 8. Laws that respect and acknowledge the knowledge and aspirations of Australia's First Nations