Submission to: Expert consultation process – design of the Nature Positive package

16.04.24 By

The Climate Council welcomes the opportunity to provide further input to the expert consultation process informing the development of the Albanese Government’s reforms to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). 

These reforms are an essential step in strengthening Australia’s environmental and climate frameworks to genuinely protect our precious natural environment from the major threats it faces. They are a once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle the interconnected climate and biodiversity crises which are escalating extinction risks. It is critical that holistic reforms to Australia’s nature laws progress during 2024, and are delivered in the current parliamentary term – in line with the Albanese Government’s commitments in the Nature Positive Plan (DCCEEW, 2022). 

An enormous amount of departmental and stakeholder time, effort, policy and legal work has been contributed towards developing these reforms in recent years. With the Albanese Government having concluded expert consultations on the proposed policy settings and legislation in late March, it is now time to accelerate progress towards the public release of complete reform proposals and the introduction of a legislative package to the Parliament.  

The Climate Council takes this opportunity to highlight and reiterate feedback previously provided to the Taskforce about how the proposed reforms need to be strengthened to ensure Australia’s new national nature law protects nature from climate change for the first time. The current EPBC Act has a gaping hole at its heart because it does not address climate change. At a time of escalating climate harm to nature and communities alike around Australia, this critical gap must be fixed in the new nature law. Protecting nature from climate change is an essential priority for a modern and holistic national nature law. The Parliament and the Australian community should rightly expect to see this embedded as a clear priority in the Albanese Government’s reform package.