"I welcome this encouraging start to the Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act reform, the commitment to establish an Environmental Protection Agency with enforcement powers, and Minister Plibersek’s response to Professor Graeme Samuel’s review," ACT Minister for the Environment Rebecca Vassarotti said.
"We’ve been waiting over two years for this response – as the coalition government did not respond – and now we need to get on with the work and down into the critical detail to stop habitat destruction. Developing strong, national environmental standards is a priority as the environmental crisis we are in needs immediate action, and it’s only made worse by climate change.
"I am disappointed that the government will not yet add a climate trigger, which allows the climate impacts of coal and gas to continue to be ignored. The biodiversity and climate crises are linked and cannot be dealt with in isolation.
"I support strong environmental standards applying to all industries and am encouraged to see this applying to native forest logging, which exempt under the current law.
"I am encouraged to see that a new National Environmental Standard for First Nations Engagement and Participation in Decision-Making will be developed as a priority to strengthen First Nations cultural heritage protection.
"As I will continue to state, adequate federal government resourcing in biodiversity to fund these urgent reforms are critical to protect Australia’s unique and precious wildlife and ecosystems."