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Detail is what will count in the Federal Government’s plan to overhaul environmental protection laws

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Sue Higginson
NSW Greens MP
30 January 2023

The Federal Government has today formally responded to the Samuel Report, announcing a broad overhauling of our national environmental laws. The long overdue response includes the announcement of a new national Environmental Protection Agency that will have powers to reject development proposals on the biodiversity grounds. 

 

The Greens NSW spokesperson for the environment Sue Higginson said:

 

“This is a welcome first step from the Federal Government in slowing down the extinction crisis. For too long we have been worsening the extinction crisis with no real measures in place to protect our rapidly declining native species and ecosystems. 

 

“The introduction of national standards and greater engagement with First Nations people is a very long overdue. The traffic light system that has been announced is an important approach which acknowledges that some things simply can not be harmed, but we need to see the settings. We also welcome the announcement of tightening of logging regulations, but that’s a pretty low bar as currently there is no Federal oversight of logging whatsoever. Today should have indicated that public native forest logging will be ruled out altogether. 

 

“The federal offset scheme that is set to allow developers to pay into a fund rather than requiring a genuine like for like offset is shaky ground when it comes to genuinely protecting and improving biodiversity. We have seen the results of this in NSW, with millions of dollars sitting in a fund and the biodiversity not being available to offset the destruction, pushing more species towards extinction and ecosystems to collapse. 

 

“If the Federal Government is going to take this approach they need to learn from the failure of the NSW scheme and establish strict rules that will improve environmental outcomes in real terms. 

 

“This is a crisis, we need bold action and we need it faster. I am glad to see this start from the Federal Government, but it sounds like any meaningful change will still be a way off. I am looking forward to seeing the detail as that is what really matters.” Ms Higginson said.

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Sue Higginson
NSW Greens MP
30 January 2023
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