29 May 2024


WWF-Australia has welcomed the introduction of legislation to establish a national environment protection agency, but warned it won’t be enough to solve Australia’s extinction crisis.

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek introduced three bills into the lower house this morning as part of long-awaited reforms to Australia’s environment laws.

The bills would establish Environment Protection Australia (EPA) to enforce environment laws and Environment Information Australia, a new body to improve the quality of environmental data.

WWF-Australia’s Acting Chief Conservation Officer, Darren Grover welcomed the legislation, but said it must be followed by a comprehensive package of reforms to prevent extinction.

“Today’s legislation is an important step forward and addresses the need for genuine compliance and enforcement of our nature laws,” said Mr Grover.

Over 93% of known threatened species habitat destruction has occurred without any referral, assessment or approval.

“We can’t continue to let people bend and break the rules at this scale.

“It is time for everyone to start following our nature laws and to have a truly independent watchdog in place to make sure they do.

“The EPA should have an independent board to prevent political interference as well as parliamentary oversight via a bipartisan parliamentary committee, and we urge the government to make these amendments.

“However the EPA is not a silver bullet that will prevent extinctions on its own.

“The government now needs to finish the job and deliver an ambitious and comprehensive package of reforms this term.

“This should include strong national standards to provide certainty to states and territories, businesses, communities, and Traditional Owners.

“Otherwise the EPA will be overseeing the same broken laws that have allowed millions of hectares of threatened species habitat to be destroyed.

“If we don’t take action now the loss to Australia will be irreversible.”