Biological Diversity | Australian Greens

Biological Diversity

Biodiversity and ecosystems maintain Earth's life-support systems; the conservation of biodiversity is essential for human wellbeing.

Principles

The Australian Greens believe that:

  1. Biodiversity, ecosystems and ecosystem processes maintain Earth’s life support systems, including the climate system.
  2. 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.
  3. The protection and conservation of biodiversity is essential for the wellbeing of all life on Earth, including human life.
  4. 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.
  5. Protected areas are vital to the preservation of Australia’s biodiversity, and therefore to the health and wellbeing of all Australians.
  6. Habitat loss and fragmentation, together with the spread of invasive species, exacerbated by climate change, are major threats to the biodiversity of the planet.
  7. 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.
  8. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have an important role to play in the protection of Australian biodiversity.
  9. Ecosystem services are essential for human survival and wellbeing.

Aims

The Australian Greens want:

  1. Maintenance and enhancement of Australia’s ecosystem, species and genetic diversity.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Development of strategies to maximise opportunities for species to adapt, communities to reorganise and ecosystems to transform to the inevitable changes in the climate.
  5. Effective habitat management, including ecologically appropriate use of fire.
  6. 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.
  7. The protection, restoration and extension of the habitats of Australia’s native animals including marine and riverine species.
  8. Full integration of ecological sustainability and the precautionary principle, into all decision-making that impacts our biodiversity.
  9. 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.
  10. To create a new generation of national environment laws which expand Commonwealth powers to better protect endangered species and their habitats.
  11. The introduction of national measures to end broad scale clearing and incremental loss of native vegetation including the degradation of native forests.
  12. The establishment of evidence based buffer zones in high conservation areas, with linkage and restoration of ecological fragments on public and private land.
  13. 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.
  14. Research into humane and sustainable means of controlling existing and potential threats to biodiversity from feral animals, weeds and pest species.
  15. An increase in and enforcement of penalties for the killing or capture of threatened species, and for deliberate habitat destruction.
  16. Support for programs that work with private landowners to protect and restore nature conservation values on their land, including conservation covenants.
  17. 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.
  18. The creation of urban bushland reserves where appropriate native animals and plants may become re-established in close proximity to dense human settlement.
  19. Recognition and development of native plants as important sources of nutrition and agricultural products.
  20. Improved global conservation of habitat for endangered species through Australia’s trade, diplomatic and aid relations.
  21. An accurate national labelling system for food, timber, paper and other products, identifying content derived from recent or ongoing habitat destruction or unsustainable fishing.
  22. To reduce the number of introduced pest animal and plant species in Australia.

[Policy endorsed: November 2017]