Amendments proposed by independent crossbench MPs would strengthen the Albanese government’s nature laws, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.

Among other changes, independent crossbench MPs have proposed amendments to:

  • Establish a separate governance board for the new EPA that would sit above the CEO.
  • Introduce greater transparency when a future Environment Minister intervenes in decisions that would otherwise be made by the EPA.
  • Remove the exemption for Regional Forest Agreements so native forest logging is subject to review under federal law.
  • Strengthen requirements for proposals to bulldoze threatened species habitat to be referred for assessment.

“ACF welcomes the constructive engagement of independent crossbench MPs on the reform of our nature laws,” said ACF’s national biodiversity policy adviser Brendan Sydes.

“Nearly 8 million hectares of threatened species habitat has been destroyed since our national nature law took effect in 2000 and ACF investigations show this destruction continues.

“A strong, independent and well-resourced regulator is critical for Australia to move beyond the situation where vested interests influence decision making, undermining nature protection.

“ACF and other environment groups have advocated for an EPA for many years. We welcome the support of the crossbenchers for an independent EPA that will be transparent in its decision making and accountable to the Australian public for enforcing the law.

“ACF urges the government to take seriously these constructive amendments that can be made as part of the stage 2 nature reforms to strengthen protection of threatened species habitat and prevent climate harm to places Australians love. 

“We call on the government to progress the full reform of the national environment law.”

The amendments are proposed to legislation to create two new agencies, Environment Protection Australia (EPA) and Environment Information Australia.

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