The Australian Greens believe that:
- Biodiversity, ecosystems and ecosystem processes maintain Earth’s life support systems, including the climate system.
- The threat to Australia’s biodiversity from a rapidly changing climate should be recognised as a high priority for government action to address global warming.
- The protection and conservation of biodiversity is essential for the wellbeing of all life on Earth, including human life.
- The loss of Australia’s biodiversity poses an unacceptable threat to human and ecosystem health, and dramatically reduces our ability to cope with major ecological threats such as climate change.
- Protected areas are vital to the preservation of Australia’s biodiversity, and therefore to the health and wellbeing of all Australians.
- Habitat loss and fragmentation, together with the spread of invasive species, exacerbated by climate change, are major threats to the biodiversity of the planet.
- Australian ecosystems are vital for the survival of internationally significant species of migratory animals and the loss of biodiversity in Australia has ramifications beyond our borders.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have an important role to play in the protection of Australian biodiversity.
- Ecosystem services are essential for human survival and wellbeing.
The Australian Greens want:
- Maintenance and enhancement of Australia’s ecosystem, species and genetic diversity.
- An all-of-government commitment to mitigating climate change as a priority in order to give our biodiversity and ecosystems the best chance for survival.
- A comprehensive, adequate and representative system of terrestrial, freshwater and marine protected areas, including all remaining areas of high conservation value, managed primarily to protect and restore biodiversity.
- Development of strategies to maximise opportunities for species to adapt, communities to reorganise and ecosystems to transform to the inevitable changes in the climate.
- Effective habitat management, including ecologically appropriate use of fire.
- Protection from accidental or deliberate introduction of exotic plants, animals and organisms, including Genetically Modified Organisms, which pose a threat to Australia’s biodiversity, agriculture or human health.
- The protection, restoration and extension of the habitats of Australia’s native animals including marine and riverine species.
- Full integration of ecological sustainability and the precautionary principle, into all decision-making that impacts our biodiversity.
- To create an independent national ecological sustainability authority to enforce our national environment laws, advise of projects requiring Commonwealth approval, produce national environmental accounts and focus on issues of ecological integrity.
- To create a new generation of national environment laws which expand Commonwealth powers to better protect endangered species and their habitats.
- The introduction of national measures to end broad scale clearing and incremental loss of native vegetation including the degradation of native forests.
- The establishment of evidence based buffer zones in high conservation areas, with linkage and restoration of ecological fragments on public and private land.
- The development, funding and implementation of recovery plans for threatened and endangered species and ecological communities, and threat abatement plans for nationally listed threatened processes.
- Research into humane and sustainable means of controlling existing and potential threats to biodiversity from feral animals, weeds and pest species.
- An increase in and enforcement of penalties for the killing or capture of threatened species, and for deliberate habitat destruction.
- Support for programs that work with private landowners to protect and restore nature conservation values on their land, including conservation covenants.
- An increase in funding to biosecurity services to anticipate new invasive species threats posed by climate change and expanded pathways resulting from globalised trade and travel.
- The creation of urban bushland reserves where appropriate native animals and plants may become re-established in close proximity to dense human settlement.
- Recognition and development of native plants as important sources of nutrition and agricultural products.
- Improved global conservation of habitat for endangered species through Australia’s trade, diplomatic and aid relations.
- An accurate national labelling system for food, timber, paper and other products, identifying content derived from recent or ongoing habitat destruction or unsustainable fishing.
- To reduce the number of introduced pest animal and plant species in Australia.
[Policy endorsed: November 2017]