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ALP Conference 2018, commitments to our campaign goals


"Delegates, when it comes to climate change, our opponents trade in toxic politics, we deal in simple facts.
Climate change is real: it’s a threat to our economy and our environment.

Ignoring it, or fighting about it, won’t make it go away.

For the sake of our farmers, for the sake of our Reef and for the sake of our kids and grandkids, we have to take action.

We will cut pollution by 45 per cent by 2030.

And today I announce that a Labor Government will pass a new Environment Act and create a new Commonwealth Environmental Protection Authority to preserve our oceans, rivers, coasts and bushland and to protect the native species that call Australia home.

And we will deliver 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

We are going to unleash the potential of a renewable energy revolution."


Replace paragraph 44 with the following:

Australia needs new frameworks for truly national protection and management of Australias natural resources to
enshrine federal leadership in proactive and systemic protection of our environment from threats such as climate
change, and to protect the value of heritage sites.

Labor will:
  • Establish an Australian Environment Act within the first term of government;
  • Ensure the knowledge and rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are central in environment
    protection laws, programs and policies;
  • For the purposes of managing matters of national environmental significance, create strong, well resourced,
    science based institutions to administer the law: including a federal Environmental Protection Agency to
    conduct public inquiries, provide transparent and timely advice to the Minister within a clear decision-making
    framework and enforcement; and ensure there is the capacity in the public service to provide federal
    leadership on the environment;
  • Implement clear management, governance and decision making structures that are transparent, efficient and
  • Improve regulation and streamline environmental assessment processes;
  • Manage Australia's environment fairly and efficiently as a foundation for ecologically, socially and economically
    sustainable jobs;
  • Protect biodiversity and support resilience in the natural environment; and
    Direct the Environment Department to establish National Environment Plans that set targets and approaches
    to proactively protect the environment
DECEMBER 16, 2018


A Shorten Labor Government will ensure the federal government returns to taking a leadership role in protecting our natural environment by creating an Australian Environment Act, and establishing a Federal Environmental Protection Agency.

The current environment act is now 20 years old and has never been significantly reformed.  It is time to bring it into the 21st century.

In 2018, it is bizarre that the national environmental law does not properly factor in climate change.

Labor‘s process will involve undertaking significant reform of Australia’s environmental law, committing to an Australian Environment Act in our first term.

It will be an Act which protects our environment but also supports job-creating development by streamlining and harmonising processes.

Labor will also establish a new agency, a Federal EPA, with the mission to protect Australia’s natural environment. It will be informed by the best available scientific advice and, ensure compliance with environmental law, and have the ability to conduct public inquiries on important environmental matters.

The new legal framework will compel the Australian government to actively protect our unique natural environment and demonstrate national leadership.

Labor will establish a high powered working group of experts including scientists, environmental lawyers and public policy thinkers to refine the clear concepts that underpin this reform. 

We will also ensure all stakeholders including states and territories, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives, impacted industries and business groups, trade unions and civil society have a seat at the table.

The Australian Environment Act will aim to tackle problems identified by industry which has identified inefficiencies, delays and hurdles in the current law. The new law will protect the environment while aiming to give business more certainty.

The Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government has vacated the field in environmental leadership. Under this government, Australia’s natural environment is going backwards.

Under Malcolm Turnbull, Australia took the largest step backwards in conservation by any government anywhere in the world by stripping back Australia’s marine parks and just earlier this year, the Government awarded nearly half a billion dollars to a small private foundation instead of directly investing in restoring the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

It’s time Australia’s environmental laws that protect of our beautiful natural land and oceans.

Recent examples of either the EPBC Act failing or the Government seeming to ignore the law include:

-       Large scale land clearing in Reef catchments in Queensland

-       The ‘mean’ approval time being reported as 860 days

-       Using the Sydney Opera House as a billboard, this action went against the management plan required under the EPBC Act

-       Not using the water trigger for dams and pipelines associated with large coal mines

-       The export of 200 rare and threatened birds to an alleged German organised crime syndicate

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