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Election Special

Environment and Threatened Species Policies
Compiled by Paul Wettin, Chair

I was interested in finding out what policies were being promulgated by the “major” political parties to protect Threatened/Endangered Species and particularly for any funding commitments that have been made. I thought members could also be interested in these policies. About a month ago I wrote a letter to the following (listed by Party alphabetically), including candidates in the O’Connor electorate (where western ground parrots live) asking for this information:

  • Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and candidate Nelson Blake-Gilmour
  • Hon Tony Burke and candidate Shelley Payne
  • Hon Melissa Price, Environment Minister and Hon Rick Wilson member for O’Connor
  • Nationals candidate John Hassell
At of time of publication, no response has been received these letters. Consequently the information below has been sourced as identified[1] and quoted directly from those sources (with minor amendments).
I hope this information (again listed alphabetically by Party) is as useful to you as it has been for me.

Environmental Laws and Administration
To better protect our shared natural resources, our wild places and our threatened species, we have a plan to rewrite the outdated Howard-era federal environmental laws.
Under our plan, a new generation of environmental laws will be introduced and overseen by a federal regulatory body with expanded responsibility and with real power to enforce the law. Crucially, this national Environmental Protection Authority will operate at arm's length from politicians and lobbyists.


Threatened Species
Nearly 2,000 of Australia’s native species are facing extinction. The Greens have a plan to bring them back from the brink, and help our unique wildlife and landscapes to thrive. Our Nature Fund will protect Australian flora and fauna from invasive species, create new safe havens for threatened mammals and properly fund the development of recovery plans for every species at risk.

Invasive Species
The Greens will:
  • Dedicate $140 million a year to a national invasive species action plan;
  • Deliver an up-to-date inventory of species already introduced;
  • Fund research to identify new species likely to be imported and assess the ecological risk they pose to native species and habitats;
  • Coordinate national and local agencies to assess threats and put in place management plans to prevent and contain economic damage, disease, and the ecological impacts of invasive species;
  • Implement rapid response plans that streamline approvals and spell out responsibilities for dealing with infestations before they get a secure foothold; and
  • Lead new collaborations with farmers, industry and businesses to control trade in species of greatest concern.
Fund Recovery Plans
To combat this (current funding shortfall), we will ramp up annual investment to $455 million a year, in long-term, targeted funding, creating 5,400 jobs. This money will allow the full implementation of every recovery plan already developed. It will be spent right around the country, by experts working on the ground, shoulder-to-shoulder with landowners, state and local governments, volunteers and community groups, creating jobs and boosting local economies. Even better, it offers these threatened species a lifeline.

New Recovery Plans
The Greens will invest $1.23 billion over a decade to restore the average staffing level for the Department of Environment and Energy back to 2012-13 levels, and allow staff numbers to grow in line with the population it serves.
We will invest a further $200 million in resourcing the new recovery plans and their delivery. With greater resources, the Department will be better equipped to ensure the prompt, transparent and regular release of data on threatened species and their habitats, and to carry out detailed monitoring and evaluation.

Paying for this Plan
This is how we will invest $2 billion a year in our proposed Nature Fund. This fund is fully funded, using revenue obtained by putting a price back on carbon and making big polluters pay for the damage they are doing to our environment.


Environmental Laws and Administration
A Shorten Labor Government will ensure the federal government returns to a leadership role in protecting our natural environment by creating an Australian Environment Act, and establishing a Federal Environmental Protection Agency. The current environment Act is now 20 years old and has never been significantly reformed. It is time to bring it into the twenty-first century. In 2018, it is bizarre that the national environmental law does not properly factor in climate change. 

Labor’s process will involve undertaking significant reform of Australia’s environmental law, committing to an Australian Environment Act in our first term. It will be an Act that both protects our environment and also supports job-creating development by streamlining and harmonising processes.

Labor will also establish a new agency, a Federal EPA, with a mission to protect Australia’s natural environment. It will be informed by the best available scientific advice, ensure compliance with environmental law, and have the ability to conduct public inquiries on important environmental matters. The new legal framework will compel the federal government to actively protect our unique natural environment and demonstrate national leadership.

Labor will establish a high-powered working group of experts including scientists, environmental lawyers and public policy thinkers to refine the clear concepts that underpin this reform. We will also ensure all stakeholders – including the States and Territories, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives, impacted industries and business groups, trade unions and civil society – have a seat at the table.

The Australian Environment Act will aim to tackle problems identified by industry which has identified inefficiencies, delays and hurdles in the current law. The new law will protect the environment while aiming to give business more certainty.


Native Species Protection Fund
To further drive a national effort to save our iconic wildlife, a Shorten Labor Government will establish a Native Species Protection Fund – which will seek to both restore numbers of endangered plants and animals and eliminate non-native pests. The Fund will be established through an initial $100 million investment to tackle the most pressing extinction and invasive species issues. Labor will call on all states and territories, business and civil society to join in a national effort to protect our iconic animal and plant species.

The Fund will be administered by the Environment portfolio and will not seek to replace work currently being undertaken in existing programs, but rather it will complement and add to it. The Fund will be guided by the Threatened Species Scientific Committee and in consultation with experts from conservation, science/research backgrounds and the private sector to advise on best projects. It will also be directed to closely collaborate with NGOs and community groups which are already working to deliver on species recovery.
The Environment Department and TSSC would also set a priority list of threatened species for protection and invasive species that need to be managed. To maintain transparency, the Fund would publish annual reports to government, documenting progress on its mandate and the priority list.

(Note: amended for funding and administrative arrangements)
Environmental Laws
The Morrison Government supports sustainable development that meets high environmental standards. It is important that environmental laws provide the high levels of protection expected by the community, while minimising the regulatory burden on businesses so they can continue to grow the economy.

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) was introduced the Liberal Nationals in 1999 and it remains the cornerstone of Australian environmental regulation. To ensure the EPBC Act remains best practise, the Morrison Government will consult widely on an independent statutory review of the Act. Consultation will begin later this year and include feedback from business groups, environmental organisations, farmers and other land users and the broader community to ensure we strike the right balance with our environmental laws- continuing the protect the environment while allowing for sustainable development.


Environment Restoration Fund (announced in the recent Budget)
The Australian Government is investing $100 million, over four years, to help ensure our environment is protected for future generations through the Environment Restoration Fund. The Environment Restoration Fund builds on the Government’s $1 billion investment, over six years, under the National Landcare Program to protect Australia’s water, soil, plants and animals and support their productive and sustainable use. The Fund complements the Government’s Communities Environment Program, which focuses on ‘small-scale grants’ for community projects.

The Government’s investment in the Fund will help to deliver national priorities, including the protection Matters of National Environmental Significance, including listed threatened and migratory species and ecological communities, world heritage properties and Ramsar wetlandsProjects funded under the Environment Restoration Fund will focus on the following priorities:
  1. Protecting threatened and migratory species and their habitat.
  2. Protecting Australia’s coasts, oceans and waterways by addressing erosion, improving water quality and protecting coastal threatened and migratory species.
  3. The clean-up, recovery and recycling of waste.

Communities Environment Program
The Australian Government will invest more than $22 million in 2019-20 to deliver a wide range of on-ground projects that conserve, protect and sustainably manage our environment. Under the Communities Environment Program, each federal electorate can receive up to $150,000 in grant funding for small-scale, community-led projects nominated by the local Member of Parliament in consultation with the community will focus on environmental priorities such as:
  • waste and litter reduction
  • protecting native animals, including our threatened species
  • addressing weeds and pest animals
  • restoring and improving coasts, wetlands, riverbanks and waterways
  • greening parks and urban areas.

Each electorate can receive funding for up to 20 projects, with the minimum grant amount being $2500 and the maximum grant amount set at $20,000. And sitting Members of Parliament will consult with their community to identify potential projects for their respective electorates. This program aims to support the environmental priorities of local community and environment groups in their regions and neighbourhoods. It aims to not only recover and strengthen our environment, but also to build and strengthen our communities.

Environmental Laws- see Liberal policy above.
Also see Environment Restoration Fund and Communities Environment Program above.

Recovery of threatened species
Australia has some of the most unique and special animals in the world, but a number of them are under threat. A re-elected Liberal and Nationals Government will allocate up to $10 million under the Environment Restoration Fund in an important new program to support the creation of safe havens for threatened species. Safe havens are a priority under the Government’s Threatened Species Strategy. They are fenced areas where feral predators like feral cats and foxes can be removed and kept out- allowing species like rock wallabies, bilbies, quolls and bandicoots to be reintroduced and thrive.

A scientific review has identified a range of priority sites to fill the gaps in Australia’s safe haven network, including the Victorian Alps, Darling Downs, Sturt Stony Desert and Flinders Ranges. Up to $1.2 million of this funding will also go towards completing the feral-free Wandiyali-Environa Wildlife Sanctuary in NSW. We will also make targeted investments through the Fund to recover our at-risk-species. This will include up to $6 million for a major koala initiative in northern NSW and south-east Queensland, including funding to enhance koala habitat and support for rescue activities and wildlife hospitals. It also includes up to $3 million to protect WA’s black cockatoos, $1.5 million for Bruny Island’s threatened mammals and $1.5 million for Kangaroo Island’s threatened dunnart.

The Liberal and Nationals Government is committed to Australia playing its part in protecting endangered animals and plants from around the world. Australia has some the strictest regulation of international trade of endangered species and we are working to further strengthen regulations within Australia by working with states and territories on banning domestic trade of ivory and rhino horn. By shutting down the market for these items here in Australia we’ll help to better protect elephants and rhinos in their native habitats.

[1] Disclaimer- Given the lack of a response to any of my letters, I have done my best to faithfully research this information for each party, as indicated. My apologies for any omissions or errors and I’m happy to receive any further official information prior to 18th May which will be duly posted on the Friends webpage- Newsletter site.



Chairperson: Paul Wettin

Mailing address: PO Box 5613, Albany, WA 6332

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Friends of the Western Ground Parrot · PO Box 5613 · Albany, WA 6332 · Australia

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