News - 20 May 2022

Labor’s proposed environment law reforms a serious step in the right direction

Image: Rob Blakers

The Wilderness Society welcomes Labor’s commitment to work with stakeholders to fully respond to the Samuel Review and to establish an independent Environment Protection Agency.

“An independent environment watchdog is vital to enforce Australia's environment laws and ensure communities have the information they need to participate in decisions about the environment,” says Suzanne Milthorpe, Wilderness Society Environment Laws Campaign Manager.

“However, an Environment Protection Agency alone won’t stop the destruction of natural places. Professor Samuel’s landmark report warned Australia’s environment laws are broken. Weak laws and a lack of enforcement and independent oversight mean many of Australia's native animals are facing extinction. Fundamental reform of our national environment laws is needed to turn around Australia’s extinction crisis and safeguard Australia’s iconic natural and cultural heritage.

“That’s why we also welcome Labor's commitment to make a full response to the Samuel Review of the EPBC Act. We are also very pleased to see Labor’s promise to include the incredible cultural heritage values as part of the protections for many existing World Heritage sites. There is so much to do to better protect cultural and natural values as part of a renewed World Heritage agenda.

“The Wilderness Society has argued for many years that we need to fix Australia's broken environment law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.

“Australia needs strong, effective and fairly enforced nature laws and for communities to have a meaningful say in decisions about the environment to protect the continent’s internationally important nature in the face of the growing impacts of industrial destruction and climate change.

“The Samuel Review was clear: Australia needs strong national environment standards that protect wildlife and the environment. We also need an independent EPA to act as watchdog and guarantee rights for communities to have a meaningful say in decisions that affect the places and heritage we love,” Ms Milthorpe concluded.

Follow our New Nature Laws campaign.