The Australian Conservation Foundation has called on the Albanese government to beef up funding for the new environment protection agency, after Parliamentary Budget Office costings obtained by independent MP Andrew Wilkie showed the budget allocation for a new EPA is likely to be significantly less than what is required.
“In announcing $121 million to establish Environment Protection Australia, Minister Plibersek rightly said the new agency was needed to restore trust in the environmental assessment system,” said ACF’s National Biodiversity Policy Adviser Brendan Sydes.
“The community has lost confidence in the administration of our national environment law and it’s easy to see why. A total area of threatened species habitat larger than the state of Tasmania has been destroyed since Australia has had a law that is meant to protect nature.
“Much loved Australian species like gang gang cockatoos, greater gliders and even koalas are now listed as endangered.
“Given the government has set a target of no more extinctions, we would expect it to boost funding for Environment Protection Australia so it can do its job fully and effectively.
“The Parliamentary Budget Office costings include an independent EPA board, something that’s important to make sure the EPA has the strong governance arrangements necessary for its independence.
“ACF commends the Albanese government for recognising the need for an independent EPA and urges it to commit the funds that are necessary for this new body to be effective in turning around Australia’s biodiversity crisis.
“ACF thanks Andrew Wilkie for his support for an independent EPA and his commitment to strong institutions to fearlessly carry out the work of Australia’s democratic government.”