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Australia’s outdated environmental law urgently needs overhaul

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

The release of the 10-year independent review of environmental laws by Professor Graeme Samuel AC is the reform Australia desperately needs and is welcomed by WIRES.


The final report clearly demonstrates the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act’s long-term failure to deliver protections for the environment and the conservation of biodiversity. The report finds that “Australia’s natural environment and iconic places are in an overall state of decline and are under increasing threat. The current environmental trajectory is unsustainable.”


Kyla Shelley, WIRES Chief Operating Officer, said, “It is imperative that there is greater clarity, transparency and accountability built into Australia’s national environmental laws.”

“To honour WIRES’ mission of preserving Australian wildlife, we are also focused on the protection of wild populations and their habitat to ensure the long-term future of surviving native species. It’s essential that decisions for our most threatened wildlife are based on the best available science and consistently enforced.”

“An overarching robust national environmental law backed up by independent oversight, as recommended by Professor Samuel, will help to facilitate the strong federal leadership required to tackle the challenges our environment now faces” she continued.

“We do not support the current move by the Federal government to have devolution of power to state governments as this is likely to be detrimental for all wildlife, and particularly for those species already on the brink after the recent unprecedented bushfire emergencies and years of severe drought.”

“It is clear that a business as usual approach to nature is unsustainable if ongoing extinctions are to be avoided.”

“We join with the scientific community, the public and the conservation sector in asking the government to accept the evidence that a failure to implement improved environment standards will have a devastating impact on our native animals, plants and ecosystems.”

“It is essential that environment laws are strengthened to provide strict protection for critical habitats for native animals, particularly threatened species.”

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