The Australian Conservation Foundation is frustrated and deeply disappointed by the Albanese government’s failure to deliver the full reform of the national environment law.

The government has announced it will introduce legislation to create new agencies, Environment Protection Australia (EPA) and Environment Information Australia, but has not set a timeframe for the implementation of the full reform package.

“We are in the midst of an extinction crisis and our national nature law is in need of urgent, comprehensive reform,” said ACF’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.

“We call on the Albanese government to deliver the full package in this term of parliament.

“The announced crackdown on illegal land clearing and the establishment of an EPA are welcome and necessary but without comprehensive reform the EPA will be enforcing a flawed and ineffective law that still needs serious surgery.

“ACF welcomes the government’s announcement that it will set up an agency to enforce environment laws – something previous governments failed to do.

“A strong, independent EPA is essential to take the politics out of decisions that affect nature.

“The minister should not have powers to override the decision of an independent EPA.

“The latest global mass bleaching event hitting the Great Barrier Reef is a stark example of the damage climate change does to nature, so it is critical the reformed law requires governments to consider whether projects are bad for the climate as part of the assessment process.

“ACF calls for root-and-branch changes to the offsetting system, which at present allows unique ecological communities to be continually chipped away at until there is nothing left.

“It is more than three years since Professor Graeme Samuel delivered his thorough and scathing review of the national environment law to the Morrison government and nearly two years since the latest State of the Environment report laid bare the dire state of nature in Australia. The Albanese government came to office in May 2022 with a promise to reform this law.

“A total of 144 animals, plants and ecological communities were added to the threatened species list in 2023 – that’s nearly three species a week – and hundreds of thousands of hectares of precious habitat was destroyed.

“Every day and every decision matters for our wildlife. Further delays to nature law reform risk more extinction.”

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Josh Meadows on 0439 342 992. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email [email protected]