Zero extinction and nature recovery

The Greens' plan to protect and restore Victoria’s environment

Nature is our life support system.

People depend on a healthy environment to thrive, yet in Victoria more than 2000 plant and animal species are facing extinction and many of our ecosystems are on the brink of collapse.

The Victorian Labor Government continues to allow the destruction of Victoria’s nature for private profit, and is failing to fund the urgent programs Victoria needs to tackle invasive species and ensure the recovery of threatened plants and animals. 

We need more Greens in Parliament holding Labor to account on nature and pushing to secure a healthy environment for the future.

The Greens' plan to protect and restore nature in Victoria includes:

  1. Stopping Labor’s destruction of nature by banning barbaric duck hunting and stopping our rivers being sucked dry. 

  2. Putting First Nations people at the centre of Caring for Country with stronger rights and programs to return sovereignty over land, water and oceans. 

  3. A new $1 billion per year Zero Extinction Fund to reverse environmental destruction, restore habitat, and fund the recovery of Victoria’s 2000 native plant, animal, bird and fish species facing extinction.

  4. Fixing our broken nature laws so they actually protect forests, rivers, grasslands and wildlife from destruction.


1. Stopping ongoing nature destruction in Victoria

Victoria is the most cleared state in Australia, with close to 70% of the state cleared since colonisation. Once widespread ecosystems, like native grasslands, have been reduced to just 1% of their previous extent.

Yet Labor and Liberal governments in Victoria continue to make habitat loss worse, with active support for land clearing, destructive new road projects and over-extraction of water. 

The first step in restoring land and waters in Victoria is to stop the activities that are accelerating loss of habitat and wildlife. That’s why the first step in the Greens’ plan for zero extinction and nature recovery includes:

  • A moratorium on new water licences, strengthening First Nations rights to water, and a plan to return water for healthy rivers.
  • A ban on new oil and gas drilling in our oceans and on land, and an end to coal burning in Victoria by 2030. 
  • Ending native duck hunting and an overhaul of wildlife laws that currently allow large-scale wildlife killing permits.
  • Strengthening Victoria’s environmental assessment process so it has the teeth to stop destructive projects, and communities are not left fighting them off one by one.

2. Putting First Nations people at the centre of Caring for Country 

First Nations people have cared for lands and waters for tens of thousands of years. Yet since colonisation, traditional knowledge and practices of caring for Country have been erased and ignored, causing ecosystem breakdown, extinctions, and a massive loss of biodiversity and wildlife.

It’s time to reset.

The Greens’ plan to ensure First Nations people are front and centre in caring for Country includes:

  • An $18 million fund to ensure First Nations people receive payment so they can participate in self-determination and environmental consultation processes, instead of being expected to provide their expertise and labour for free.
  • Strengthening First Nations water, aquifer and ocean rights and limiting how much water we take out of our rivers, so there’s still enough to maintain the cultural practices which keep First Nations people and their Country strong.
  • A Dedicated First Nations Ranger training and employment program to bring Traditional Owner cultural knowledge to caring for Country, funded from within the Greens’ $1 billion year Zero Extinction Fund (see below for more information). 
  • A $1 billion fund to enable Traditional Owners to buy back private land, so it can be cared for, restored and protected by First Nations people.

3. A Zero Extinction Fund to restore habitat and threatened plants and animals 

Victoria is facing an extinction crisis. Since 2014, the number of species and ecosystems on the brink of extinction has risen from 687 to 2000. 

Unlike NSW, Victoria has no dedicated program to protect and restore threatened species and the biodiversity programs we do have are woefully underfunded. 

The decisions by successive Labor and Liberal governments to slash environmental funding is a political choice. The Victorian Labor Government is spending more than $20 billion on two unnecessary polluting toll roads while over the past 8 years they have spent just $560 million on biodiversity programs. This is a tiny fraction of the state budget and far less than is required to protect and restore the environment we all depend on.

Central to the Greens’ plan to reverse environmental neglect in Victoria is $1 billion a year ongoing Zero Extinction Fund, about 1% of the state budget. The following initiatives would be prioritised out of this fund:

  • A dedicated Save our Species program for Victoria, similar to the existing program in New South Wales.
  • Doubling the funding for our national parks management, expanding marine parks, and employing more rangers and Indigenous rangers dedicated to conservation and caring for Country.
  • A large-scale program to restore private and public land with weeding, invasive species management, fencing waterways, tree planting and restoring grasslands and wetlands, creating thousands of jobs along the way. This program will also include reinstating traditional cultural knowledge practices of caring for Country.
  • Fully funding Trust for Nature’s work to permanently protect and restore habitat on private land with legally binding covenants.
  • Restoring urban biodiversity in cities and towns with healthy swimmable rivers, bee and bird corridors, and biodiverse urban forests and green spaces. This includes funding for the Yarra River Strategic Plan and environment organisations along the Yarra and a review of the EPA’s Yarra Watch Program, as well as funding for other rivers.
  • Planning works and education campaigns so Melbourne can start drinking recycled water, instead of sending our polluted water out into the bay and relying on desalination.

4. Fixing Victoria’s broken nature laws

Strong laws are a powerful tool that can protect our rivers, forests and oceans and ensure we all have a healthy planet for the future. But unfortunately, many of Victoria’s nature laws are outdated, lack the teeth to have an impact, or are simply ignored by the Labor government. For example, Victoria’s laws allow widespread slaughter of native wildlife while invasive deer species are considered a protected species.

The Greens plan’ to ensure our nature laws are fit for the 21st century (and actually used to protect the environment) includes: 

  • Strengthening Victoria’s environmental assessment process so it has the teeth to stop destructive projects, and communities are not left fighting them off one by one. 
  • Making the tools in Victoria’s biodiversity laws mandatory for the government to use, like in the United States. This would ensure, for example, that vital habitat must be protected and the government is required to work to restore every threatened species.
  • Modernising wildlife laws so they actually protect wildlife. Right now, these laws consider native wildlife to be either a resource or pest, while introduced species, like deer, receive protection. Any enforcement or other costs would be paid for by our Zero Extinction Fund.
  • Reforming the laws that apply to invasive species to ensure protecting threatened species and ecosystems are the focus of invasive species management, alongside ensuring invasive species like feral deer are managed on agricultural land. 
  • Making Victoria's Conservation Regulator independent, so they will be bold in holding the government and industry to account and protecting nature.

Paying for our plans

The Greens' plan for  a $1 billion per year Zero Extinction Fund would include making the big banks, property developers and the gambling industry pay their fair share of tax. We want to increase royalties on coal and gas corporations before they close, charge banks a levy on their profits, modernise water levies so rural water levies are paid at the same rate as urban ones, tax developers more when they make windfall profits and increase the tax on online betting. Our plans would also be paid for by spending smarter and making our state borrowings work for the community.

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