Govt's enviro law reforms lack urgency and climate action


Responding to the Albanese Government's response to the 'Samuel Review' released today, Australian Greens Spokesperson for the Environment Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said:

"We need immediate action, action must include climate action and stopping the destruction of native forests and habitat. Sadly, this package does not deliver on these points, but the Greens are willing to work with the government to fix it.

"The Greens welcome this long-awaited response to the biggest review of Australia's environment laws in a decade. The Albanese Government is moving in the right direction. However, the government lacks any sense of urgency to halt and reverse the unsustainable environmental trajectory Professor Samuel described in his report.

"The Greens will not be rubber stamping this legislative reform and will be pushing the Albanese Government to go harder and faster to protect our environment.

"There is nothing in this package to save our iconic koala. There is nothing in this package to protect our native forests. There is no climate trigger, indeed there is very little to address the impact of the climate crisis on the environment at all. The Minister also retains far too much power to influence environmental approvals with no truly independent cop-on-the-beat.

"The timeframe for reform is far too long, and does not future-proof our environment laws. The Regional Planning trials will run until 2028, leaving Australia's most high-value environmental areas and the wildlife that call them home without protection for years, and well into future election cycles.

"The Albanese Government has missed an opportunity to protect critical habitat right now with a moratorium on land clearing. It remains unclear how the Government will deliver on its zero new extinctions pledge while land clearing is allowed to continue.

"The Albanese Government has missed an opportunity to announce it will establish a 'Climate Trigger' to guarantee the emissions from a polluting project are considered in environmental assessments. Without a climate trigger, Australia's environment laws will remain unfit for the crisis we are in. 

"The Greens consider the package of reforms announced by the Environment Minister to be a floor when it comes to strengthening environment laws, not a ceiling. We will continue to push for an urgent moratorium on clearing of critical habitat, an end to native forest logging and a climate trigger. We will also work to improve the proposed EPA so that it is a true cop-on-the-beat, not just an excuse for the government when it makes unpopular decisions."