Media Releases - 16 June 2021

Government ‘roadmap for reform’ sets a course for extinction

The Wilderness Society provides the following response to the release of the Morrison Government’s A pathway for reforming national environmental law by Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley.

Suzanne Milthorpe, the Wilderness Society’s National Environment Laws Campaign Manager says, “The Morrison Government’s ‘pathway’ to reform Australia’s national environment law is meant to rebuild trust in the Government’s efforts to change the EPBC Act. In fact, it does the opposite. Again the Government is saying trust us to hand our environmental safeguard responsibilities over to the states and we'll fix the problems later.

“Both Minister Ley and the Prime Minister have made it clear: their proposed changes to the EPBC Act are a result of listening to mining and gas interests rather than what our environment needs and the community wants. A credible response would raise the standard of protection for Australia’s unique and threatened wildlife not lock in further extinction and habitat destruction.

“Minister Ley today claimed that the Government’s bills would ‘put the car on the road’ towards greater environmental protections. Yet the Morrison Government has failed at every step to respond to the serious warning sounded by the Samuel Review. The independent Review showed the direction the Government needed to go and yet the Government has continued to drive the other way.

“If the Morrison Government was serious about protecting our environment, they would implement the national environment standards put forward by Professor Samuel, standards that are designed to protect wildlife, critical habitat and our iconic natural heritage, and make sure all governments had to follow them.

“Thirty-thousand community members, scientists, law experts and the Government’s own independent reviewer have called for the Government to reform our national nature laws to end Australia’s extinction crisis.

“The Government must commit to a widespread package of reforms to our failed national environment law that are designed to raise the standard of protection for our wildlife and globally iconic natural places.

“Otherwise they can not expect the Australian community to have faith in this reform process or their claims around ‘strengthening’ environment protections,” Ms Milthorpe said.

For further comment contact Suzanne Milthorpe on 0408582396