We are in the midst of an extinction crisis.
Globally, 1 million species are under threat of extinction and Australia is one of the worst offenders.
In the past 200 years, Australia has lost 50 animal species and we have the highest rate of mammalian extinction in the world over that period.
Currently, 511 animal species are listed as nationally threatened in Australia and these numbers are rapidly increasing.
The laws that protect our precious wildlife are not strong enough to stop their habitat from being mined, logged and degraded or to protect them from the growing threat of climate change.
If we don’t act now, what we stand to lose is unimaginable.
As part of the Places You Love Alliance, representing 56 organisations and over 1.5 million people, we have long been campaigning for an overhaul of Australia’s national environment laws.
In the recent election, the Labor Party included our asks in their election platform. But unfortunately, the Coalition who won government, failed to make the same commitment.
Not all hope is lost however.
In June 2018, the Standing Committee on Environment and Communications launched an inquiry into Australia’s faunal extinction crisis including:
- the wider ecological impact of faunal extinction,
- the adequacy of Commonwealth environment laws,
- the adequacy of existing monitoring practices, assessment process and compliance mechanisms for enforcing Commonwealth environmental law,
- and a range of other matters.
The Committee delivered an interim report just prior to the Federal election on 3 April 2019 with critical recommendations for a complete overhaul of our national environment laws (the EPBC Act) and the establishment of a new, independent national EPA to oversee them.
And, the Senate has just agreed to resume the inquiry, opening it up to public submissions until the 13 August.
Inquiries like this are an important opportunity to make the case that our national environmental laws need an overhaul and it’s vital that we continue to push for the laws we need to bring our threatened wildlife back from the brink.
Now, more than ever, we need stronger and more effective laws to protect our wildlife.
The second 10 yearly review of the EPBC Act is due soon and is another important moment to galvanise the movement to push for stronger laws. Section 522A of the Act requires an independent review of the Act every 10 years. The last review (the Hawke review) was completed in October 2009. We’ll keep you informed on how you get involved in the review as it approaches.
In the meantime, you can make a submission before 13 August to the Inquiry into Australia’s faunal extinction crisis and tell them why you think we need stronger laws to protect our wildlife. Click on the blue ‘upload a submission button’. You’ll need to sign up for a Parliamentary online account if you don’t already have one and then can make a submission on the government website.