Once in a federation

Welcome to 2024, the biggest year ever for the environment! The Minister, Tanya Plibersek, has a game changing ambitious agenda planned and we want you to know all about it.

We know Australia’s biodiversity is under serious threat from climate change as well as rampant land clearing, development and pollution. Even more concerning is that the environment laws supposed to protect our native animals and their habitat, do not. The laws are broken.

Labor committed to reform these environment laws and establish an independent EPA all the way back in 2018 thanks to a massive LEAN campaign supported by 525 branches. Now this once in a federation reform it is finally happening and we need your help to deliver it! This is Labor’s next big legacy.

The laws are complicated to explain but the bottom line is they need to prevent extinctions and protect actual critical habitat where our favourite endangered species like the koala live. Additionally, the laws need to restore the environment – to be “nature positive” as opposed to the nature negative that it is currently. 

What is this reform all about? There are four key aspects.

  1. Make sure the reform is Nature Positive
  2. To protect critical habitat - stop the bulldozers and chainsaws
  3. End logging and clearing
  4. Independent and effective EPA

Nature positive:

There is a new international term in town - Nature Positive. Nature Positive is used to describe circumstances where nature - species and ecosystems - is being repaired and is regenerating rather than being in decline. Isn’t that a transformative concept - restoring nature instead of constantly destroying it? But like arresting climate change, you can’t do it unless you measure where you’re at and set targets to improve.   Minister Tanya Plibersek is delivering a whole lot of legislation to support this goal - the Nature Repair market, the water trigger, a Environment Information Australia. But the new flagship environment law needs Nature Positive at its heart - mandating that Australia ends the loss and delivers a big swag of restoration.

Critical habitat:

At the heart of our extinction crisis is that current Australian environment laws do not protect the habitat of our threatened species. They never say no to chainsaws or bulldozers. There need to be no-go zones for precious ecosystems if we are going to deliver on the commitment for no more extinctions. No means no. This is central to the reform.

Ending logging and clearing:

Australia remains a deforestation hotspot - the only developed country on this list. These laws must turn this around by ending native forest logging and ending the hundreds of thousands of hectares of bush cleared each year for development and agriculture. We can end native forest logging by moving jobs into forest management and plantations, supporting communities as we transition just like is currently happening in WA and Victoria.

Independent and effective EPA:

Having a depoliticised, expert approach to environmental decisions can be a game changer. The Minister has promised to create Environment Protection Australia.  This is a huge step forward for nature and we need it to investigate, regulate,  prosecute and protect the unique flora and fauna of Australia. Strong legislation will be needed to ensure it can be an effective and independent cop on the beat so to speak.

 

We need your help in delivering on these LEAN/Labor commitments

But like any important reform, it’s not easy and there will be pushback from many vested interests. We need to back in our parliamentarians. This is a key moment with an environmentally friendly Senate and we have to get it right this year.

So what do you need to do?

  1. We are asking you to let your branch know that this reform is happening (especially if your branch passed the original motion).
  2. Then get the branch to write and/or meet with your federal Labor MP or duty Senator asking them to support it in caucus. These interventions from local MPs matter a lot and they will only happen if you specifically ask your local MP  to represent your concern in caucus. (Or by speaking the PM’s office or talking with Tanya about how to help etc)
  3. Feel free to write individually too and cc the Minister in your email. We need to create the momentum to bring this once in a federation legislation home. If you need more information, check out our website.
  4. Share our FB posts and tag your local MPs and Senators too.

 

We have so many endangered species right now that desperately need your help. This once in a federation reform can move the dial from endangered to thriving. And who doesn’t want to help futureproof the Wollemi Pines or turn the fortunes around for a Hairy Quandong? Let’s make the year for nature in Australia. The year of the contented koala and the pleased and protected pygmy possum.

 

 

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