Biodiversity and Conservation

The Greens believe:

  1. Natural ecosystems and biodiversity are essential to human health and wellbeing. There is an inextricable link between a healthy environment and the health of society and the economy.

  2. The protection and conservation of biodiversity is essential for the wellbeing of all life on Earth.

  3. First Nations peoples and their knowledge of, and embeddedness in local ecosystems should be at the forefront of plans and decision making in the protection of Australian biodiversity.

  4. Over-exploitation, habitat loss, the spread of invasive species, pollution and the climate crisis are major threats to our biodiversity.

  5. Protected areas are vital to the preservation of Australia’s biodiversity.

The Greens will:

  1. Employ measures that protect and restore South Australia’s ecosystems, including preventative measures to preserve intact ecosystems.

  2. Facilitate ecosystem restoration on public and private land to protect biodiversity, including the establishment of wildlife corridors to connect areas of fragmented and remnant bushland and the creation of a comprehensive and connected network of conservation areas.

  3. Strengthen laws to protect remnant native vegetation from clearance, including both intact and fragmented vegetation.

  4. Increase funding to environmental agencies to ensure compliance with land clearing laws and prosecute breaches.

  5. Limit the exemptions to the Native Vegetation Act for mining and exploration projects and implement strict criteria for exemptions.

  6. Adopt sustainable, evidence-based livestock grazing practices, informed by the capacity of the land and with consideration to long-term land rehabilitation.

  7. Provide resources to the Native Vegetation Council so it can properly monitor and enforce existing livestock grazing regulations, ensuring grazing practices do not cause permanent degradation of the native vegetation.

  8. Provide resources to enable farmers to undertake monitoring of ground cover and set management targets for ground cover.

  9. Introduce mandatory State-level Recovery Plans for listed threatened species.

  10. Require ongoing assessment of species abundance and distribution to determine the adequacy of existing threatened species lists and the development of finer-grained threatened species lists that recognise regional variations in populations.

  11. Create additional indigenous flora and fauna reserves where animals and plants can be protected or re-established.

  12. Protect, restore and extend the habitats of South Australia’s native animals, including marine and riverine species.

  13. Increase and enforce penalties for the killing or capture of protected species, and for deliberate habitat destruction.

  14. Establish a full public review of permits to kill protected or unprotected native wildlife.   

  15. Legislate for third party appeal rights against permits.

  16. Establish ‘Protection Plans’ for species, ecological communities or ecosystems as a preventative counterpart to federal Recovery Plans.

  17. Expand the Native Vegetation Act to include additional urban areas.

  18. Adequately fund and conduct science-based research into whether native species are overabundant and, if so, assess the ecological reasons for overabundance and develop long-term humane management strategies to achieve ecological balance.   

  19. Implement tailored, evidence-based plans for managing overabundant species that address the potential immediate threats and consider all possibilities, including relocation and sterilisation, and are in line with rigorous animal welfare standards.   

  20. Increase support for science-based large-scale programs for habitat protection, the restoration of ecological systems and the protection of biodiversity.

  21. Ensure effective enforcement of current biosecurity laws and imposition of penalties for breaches.

  22. Increase funding to biosecurity services to anticipate new invasive species threats posed by climate change and expanded pathways resulting from globalised trade and travel.

  23. Adequately fund effective control programs for established invasive species at the landholder, bioregion and state level.

  24. Employ rigorous animal welfare standards in all invasive species minimisation strategies.

  25. Develop a public education program to protect and manage domestic cats to reduce their impact on native species, including incentives for cat owners to install cat safety enclosures.

  26. Increase the budget for protected area management to ensure that management plans for all National Parks are developed, maintained, adequately funded and implemented.

  27. Protect Adelaide’s Park Lands from encroaching private interests.

  28. Create additional wildlife habitat areas in the Park Lands to increase local biodiversity.

  29. Increase and protect urban canopy cover and urban bushland reserves to preserve and enhance biodiversity.

  30. Ensure that urban bushland and canopy is protected in planning legislation.

  31. Strengthen and expand powers to protect and enhance South Australia’s environment and heritage.

  32. Implement incentives and regulations to encourage both private landholders and leaseholders to conserve and restore habitat for biodiversity protection and improved environmental services.

  33. Support programs to work with private landowners and community groups to protect, restore and conserve natural values on their land, including through conservation covenants.

  34. Ensure that at least 30 per cent of each bioregion, and ecosystem type, is managed for conservation to ensure the future survival of the natural landscape.

  35. To work with First Nations peoples to protect and restore our country, including implementing shared management agreements with First Nations peoples to develop meaningful employment in natural resource management, and supporting First Nations led conservation programs.

  36. Increasing regulation and control of mining and ensuring that all mineral exploration is subject to Environmental Planning and Assessment provisions including the rehabilitation of the affected land and waterways.

  37. Prohibit destructive and dangerous projects in South Australia and its waters, such as:

             - exploration and drilling for oil in the Great Australian Bight;
             - unconventional gas projects; and
             - other fossil fuel exploration.

  38. Increase funding for environmental programs, including restoration of funding to the State Environment Department.

  39. Increase the funding, functions and independence of the Environmental Protection Agency.

  40. Apply restrictions on use of land clearing offsets so they are used only as a last resort, and do not result in net biodiversity loss.

  41. Disallow offsets for clearing of threatened ecological communities or high value regrowth vegetation.

  42. Establish a system of 'biodiversity credits' to place an economic value on South Australia’s natural capital to ensure their protection and restoration.

  43. Take urgent action on global warming to maintain a stable climate system conducive to the preservation of our environment and protection of our biodiversity.

  44. Introduce stringent assessment guidelines for planning review bodies which all development applications must meet.

  45. Ensure planning laws are consistent with the conservation of biodiversity and ecologically sustainable development principles.

  46. Increase funding and resources for assessment, survey and scientific research of SA biodiversity, and policy development and continue to develop accessible avenues for public access to subsequent data.

  47. Encourage and support Local Governments to continue developing and implementing biodiversity strategies and biological surveys.

  48. Support targeted education and management programs to address the importance of biodiversity, as well as negative impact of invasive species and pests in SA’s conservation reserves and surrounding rural areas.

  49. Increase funding for conservation training and skills development, and conservation focussed job opportunities.

  50. Provide greater funding for environmental projects and facilitate participation by local communities in planning and implementing strategies to protect the environment.

  51. Provide community groups and individuals legal standing to present matters of environmental protection in legal proceedings.

  52. Ensure that development within National Parks focuses on interpretation facilities, nature education facilities and sustainable, low-impact eco-tourism opportunities.

  53. Ensure that tourism interpretation explains, and is sympathetic to, the natural and cultural values of the area.

(Biodiversity and Conservation Policy as amended by The Greens SA Policy and Campaigns Council September 2020)