21 June 2023
WWF CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO PICK UP PACE ON NATURE REFORMS
With the Nature Repair Market Bill now through the House of Representatives, the World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia called on senators to work together to strengthen and deliver this innovative legislation.
“The nature repair market, paired with stronger environmental protections, could stimulate much needed investment in nature conservation and restoration,” said WWF-Australia Conservation Economist Joshua Bishop.
“WWF supports initiatives that recognise and reward real improvements in conservation outcomes on land or seas, which is what the nature repair market aims to do."
“However, to avoid greenwashing, the market must have independent governance, full transparency and high integrity."
“Given the gravity of the biodiversity and climate crises, WWF calls on all sides of politics to work together – conserving and restoring nature shouldn’t be a political football."
“WWF encourages rapid passage of the Nature Repair Market Bill, and asks our government to double down on strengthening nature protection laws."
“Australia has waited far too long for critical nature policy reforms to be enacted. We need stronger nature protection laws, together with new ways of mobilising investment in nature, because business as usual is failing our wildlife and wild places."
“The nature repair market is not a 'silver bullet' for addressing the biodiversity crisis, but it is an important piece of the nature reform package, providing the architecture to verify real and additional conservation outcomes and to ramp up investments in nature across Australia."
“WWF therefore congratulates the crossbench for their amendments, which have significantly improved the Bill and helped secure its passage through the lower house,” Dr Bishop said.
Further improvements could address:
- clarifying linkages between the Nature Repair Market and other pieces of the Government’s Nature Positive Plan;
- keeping biodiversity offsets out of the market until a new offset standard is developed and working as intended;
- additional safeguards to ensure that investments in nature conservation and restoration do not reduce food security or undermine the economic viability of agriculture and regional communities;
- redoubling efforts to consult all affected stakeholders to ensure everyone's views are considered, including wide participation in development of methodologies, while also seeking public consent for nature repair proposals; and
- providing timely information and dedicated extension support to market participants, to ensure price transparency and build confidence in the nature repair market in regional areas.
“It’s also concerning that the government has no dedicated budget to invest in nature repair projects. This is not a case of ‘If you build it they will come’. Government needs to give more thought to financing the market in its early stages and to incentivising private investment,” Dr Bishop said.