Legal experts (including lawyers from Environmental Justice Australia) will join with representatives of environment and health groups in Canberra today to envision the next generation of federal environmental laws.

Even though Australia is blessed with amazing natural values – forests, oceans, rivers, savannahs, Alpine areas and unique wildlife – nature is in dramatic decline.

Australia’s national environmental law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act), was developed two decades ago. It was written at a time when many of the pervasive threats to our environment were less well understood.

The Better Laws for a Better Planet symposium brings together experts from across disciplines and sectors to discuss the key challenges, opportunities and directions for the next generation of environment laws to deliver genuine environmental protection.

At the symposium the Australian Panel of Experts on Environmental Law will present its blueprint for new laws that will protect Australia’s threatened species, special places and communities from global warming, toxic pollution and other threats.

EJA lawyer Bruce Lindsay will talk about legal frameworks that support human rights and public participation, while Nicola Rivers, EJA’s Acting CEO, will lead discussions on how federal air pollution regulation could significantly reduce health impacts on communities.

The Places You Love alliance, which EJA has helped lead over the past four years, advocates for Australia to introduce a new generation of environment laws, because the existing framework isn’t doing the job it was set up to do.

New laws are needed to protect and restore our natural environment, strengthen our democracy and support community involvement.

A new national environmental framework must be built on five key principles:

  • National leadership
  • A central role for community
  • Trusted institutions
  • Strong environmental outcomes
  • Resilience in the face of climate change.

A new national Environment Act with the Federal Government taking a greater leadership role in environmental regulation, accompanied by a new National EPA and National Environment Commission to ensure independence and strong enforcement, is critical. The Places You Love alliance is working to achieve this.

To support our work to bring in a new generation of federal environmental laws please donate here.

Pic: Swift parrot by Dave Curtis