After Conference - the task still before us!

LEAN and the 480 odd branches that supported its campaign had a great victory at the 2018 ALP National Conference.

Bill Shorten in his opening speech, committed the Party to delivering a new environment act and a federal EPA in the first term of a Labor Government.

This was a great first step! It was an important high level commitment, but we need some more meat on the bones. And we need you to help deliver it.

The summer just gone has confirmed the value of this campaign. The dead fish in the Murray Darling, the confirmation of the extinction of the only mammal endemic to the Great Barrier Reef - the Bramble Cay melomys and the severe and devastating weather events - all speak to the Australian environment being under tremendous pressure. 

We have a systemic problem, we need a systemic solution. A National EPA - respected amongst Australians on the environment like the RBA is for monetary policy - could remake our failed environmental governance. It could set national standards and priorities to end deforestation, stop extinctions and address issues such as plastic waste and air pollution. It would be backed by clear, strong simple laws. New laws would also provide clarity and simplicity to business, who have long complained about the current laws.

What's interesting is that both the SA Royal Commission into the Murray Darling and a February OECD report on Australia's environmental performance highlighted the need for independent advice to improve decision making. Experts need to support politicians in making good decisions for the environment. 

Time is getting tight. Once the election campaign gets going full steam, the environment often struggles to get a look in. We are calling for the parliamentary party to act on this in the next few weeks. 

WHAT WE NEED FROM LABOR

We need Labor to embrace this important reform, argue for it, reap the political rewards (all polling is showing the community is crying out for political leadership on the environment) and outline its plan to reverse the steady decline of Australia's environment. 

To do this - we need a full policy announcement that sets our the plan for this major reform. We need to be clear about the role of the EPA and the need for it to lead setting standards, targets, outcomes for environment policy as well as being a strong regulator. Without an independent and empowered voice for environment, vested interests too easily undermine good environment outcomes. 

So we are asking branches and Labor members around the country to once again work with us to call on our parliamentary leadership to deliver the full policy announcement and to ensure the EPA has both the regulatory and environment commission functions. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Number 1. Take the motion below to your branch and/or FEA/FEC and let our parliamentary leadership know we still need a full policy announcement and some more details on our plan for this important reform. 

Number 2. Contact your local Labor Federal rep either as yourself or with your branch. If you are a party member, you have an important and legitimate voice to talk to your Federal MP or senator about your policy concerns.  Request a short phone conversation or meeting with them.

Ask that they go and see Bill Shorten or his staff and advocate for this important next step, of announcing the plan fully including a National EPA up to the task of turning things around. If some of your MPs branches have supported the policy in the past (and most have with 480 branches having backed it), it is part of their job to represent this concern. 

Number 3. Drop the leadership an email yourself. Use the branch motion as a guide and the email list below to write a personal note to Labor's leaders on this important issue. 

BRANCH MOTION
  1. Pass this motion at your sub-branch, then send it on to Bill Shorten, Tony Burke, Tanya Plibersek and the National Secretariat
  2. Put the motion to your FEC or FEA and ask your Federal member or candidate to take it up with the leadership, Bill and Tanya and Tony.

The motion

This branch congratulates the party for the decision of the 2018 National Conference to create a new Federal Environment Act and an Environmental Protection Agency, within the first term of government.

In light of the latest example of our environmental crisis in the Murray Darling Basin, this branch urges our leadership to deliver a full election policy announcement to underpin this major reform as a high priority for the first term of a Labor Federal government including:

  •  Ensuring the new institutions provide independent, transparent and science-based policy leadership as well as law enforcement.
  • Funding to build the new institutions and deliver investment to arrest environmental decline.

Through this we can confirm that Labor is Australia’s party of the environment and reclaim the environmental legacy of the Whitlam and Hawke years.

Please send your motion to:

bill.shorten.mp@aph.gov.au
tanya.plibersek.mp@aph.gov.au
tony.burke.mp@aph.gov.au
noah.carroll@cbr.alp.org.au, National ALP Secretary
paul.erickson@cbr.alp.org.au, National ALP Assistant-Secretary

And don't forget to let us know if your branch passes it by emailing us at envirolaws@lean.net.au

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