Our national environment laws – the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation or EPBC Act – is failing to protect the environment in the Northern Territory. The once-in-a-decade review is our chance to strengthen them.
In the Territory, introduced species including buffel grass have pushed our biodiversity to breaking point. Land clearing and shale gas fracking are major issues which the Act is failing to address. And climate change, the most serious environmental threat we face, is not even mentioned.
Ahead of the review, we are calling on the Government to get these laws up to scratch. You can help to inform this critical review by writing a 300 word or less comment.
Here are some facts showing the ways the current Act is failing us:
- Some 7.7 million hectares of endangered species habitat has been destroyed since the Act.
- Worldwide, Australia has the fourth highest number of extinct species (42) and the seventh highest number of threatened species (1,295).
- Central Australia has experienced arguably the greatest rate of mammal extinction in the world.
Serious changes are needed. Our submission to the Government makes a clear case for why we need stronger, more robust laws to protect our desert country and people.
You can help strengthen that call. Write a 300 word or less comment and send a message that people in Central Australia want laws that are up to scratch, and protect our nature and communities.
Our submission identifies three key areas that need addressing in order for the Act to be effective. We encourage you to include these points in your comment.
- Our nature laws must address our biggest environmental threats.
Land clearing, climate change and shale gas fracking must be added as matters of National Environmental Significance in the Act for it to be effective.
- Our nature laws must work to prevent extinction of plants and wildlife
The Act needs to be amended to prevent further extinction of our threatened species. In the Territory, this means applying it to stop the spread of buffel grass which is endangering our plants and wildlife. Habitat loss due to inappropriate development must also be addressed.
- Government decision making must be accountable and transparent
The laws are there to be followed. The Act needs better measures for accountability and transparency of decision-making processes. Political interests should not be allowed to trump independent recommendations made to protect the environment.
Update: Recently, the Coalition indicated they may make changes the environmental laws before review is finished. Be sure to include in your comment that you do not support the Government fast-tracking this crucial piece of environmental legislation.
You can read our full submission here.