The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act is the key Federal legislation for the protection of the environment by the Federal Government. It is regularly reviewed, and the latest review is underway now (although this review may be pre-empted by the Government who want to reduce “green tape” likely to put business interests ahead of sound evidence-based conservation).
Peter Mitchell wrote on behalf of BEAM:
I am a retired ecologist still very busy working with Landcare, other environment groups and landholders in central Victoria. Many people in regional Victoria are caring for the natural environment on their land and in local reserves, using their own time and money with occasional funding from government. Despite all the good work and intentions, we are seeing a huge decline in the natural environment. Locally, trees are dying or culled and birds and insects are becoming less common. In the past 50 year we have gone from The Great Extermination of the past described by Professor Jock Marshall to The Extinction Crisis announced and described in 2019. Clearly the EPBC Act, along with other government programs, have failed us.
Climate change has severely reduced the resilience of our natural world, with heat, droughts and bushfires over the past year pushing many species closer to extinction. But we continue to wilfully destroy the environment. Despite species decline and bushfires, Victoria has recently signed a 10 year modified Regional Forest Agreement with the Commonwealth; other states have signed up for 20 years with little modification of agreements. And, against the advice of scientists, post-fire logging is reducing the ability of our forests to recover from the severe bushfires. Land clearing and chemical pest control for agriculture also continues, both on broad scales in Queensland and NSW, and through the extension of cropping and “death by a thousand cuts” in Victoria. This is destroying the mosaics of farmlands with large old trees, bushlands and wetlands that have been helping to slow the “extinction debt” since the Great Extermination. Massive urban growth around cities and regional towns is adding to the destruction.
These are all Threatening Processes, and we need a strong EPBC Act to help reverse the current rapid decline of our biodiversity and natural ecosystems.