20 Mar 2016


The WA Government’s Biodiversity Conservation Bill 2015, due to be debated by state parliament this week, is a retrograde step for WA’s environment and should be put on hold, WWF-Australia said today.

The proposed new laws:

  • Allow the Minister to authorise actions that would cause a species to become extinct;
  • Fail to provide a strong emphasis on protection and enhancement of biodiversity;
  • Severely limit transparency and independent science-based decision making with excessive Ministerial and CEO discretion;
  • Increases fines for the killing of threatened species, but at the same time undermines this action by removing prison time as an option for the most serious of offences. 

WWF’s concerns follow a recent white paper from the WA Environmental Defender’s Office, which found the bill in its current form should be abandoned.

WWF-Australia’s Species Conservation Manager for Southwest Australia Merril Halley called on the Government to put the Bill on hold, so that proper consultation could occur before the laws were changed.

“New biodiversity legislation was an election commitment of the Barnett Government – a commitment that was supported in principle at the time by WWF,” Ms Halley said. 

“While the Government’s intentions appear to be good, and there are some good initiatives within the Bill, this proposal will amount to a “biodiversity conservation” law in name only."

“The last thing any government would want to do is to undermine key protections for WA’s precious native animals, landscapes and plants – many of which are found nowhere else on Earth. But if passed in its current form, that’s exactly what this Bill will do."

“By simply pressing the pause button and consulting with the community, the WA Government has a great opportunity to replace our state’s aging environmental laws with something much better – and we’re ready, willing and able to help them with that.”

WWF-Australia Media Contact: Daniel Rockett, National Media Manager, 0432 206 592