Media statement: Labor’s Nature Positive Plan: better for the environment, better for business

Australia’s environment laws are broken.

Professor Graeme Samuel’s 2019 review into the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act found that “the EPBC Act is outdated and requires fundamental reform… Australians do not trust that the Act is delivering for the environment, for business or for the community”.

Nature is being destroyed. Businesses are waiting too long for decisions. That’s bad for everyone. Things have to change.

Labor is today delivering on our promise by responding to Professor Samuel’s review and announcing our Nature Positive Plan: better for the environment, better for business.

We want an economy that is nature positive – to halt decline and repair nature.

We will build our legislation on three basic principles: clear national standards of environmental protection, improving and speeding up decisions, and building trust and integrity.

Our Nature Positive Plan will be better for the environment by delivering:
•    Stronger laws designed to repair nature, to protect precious plants, animals and places. For the first time, our laws will introduce standards that decisions must meet. Standards describe the environmental outcomes we want to achieve. This will ensure decisions made will protect our threatened species and ecosystems.
•    A new Environment Protection Agency to make development decisions and properly enforce them.

Our Nature Positive Plan will be better for business by delivering:
•    More certainty – saving time and money with faster, clearer decisions about developments including housing and energy. Regional plans will identify the areas we want to protect, areas for fast-tracked development and where development can proceed with caution.
•    Less red tape – easier paperwork and less duplication. Streamlining and consolidating the project assessment process.

Our Nature Positive Plan is a win-win: a win for the environment and a win for business.

I look forward to working with environment, business, community and First Nations groups to deliver it

Our reforms are seeking to turn the tide in this country – from nature destruction to nature repair.

And they match what we’ve already begun in our first six months in office.

A stronger emissions reduction target, with a clear path to net zero.

A target of zero new extinctions on this continent.

A commitment to protecting thirty percent of Australia’s land and oceans by 2030.

A new nature repair market.

Reducing waste and building an economy focussed on recycling, re-use and repair.

Campaigning on the world stage, to protect our oceans, to support the Pacific, and to reduce plastic waste.

And $1.8 billion in the recent Budget –
•    to protect the Great Barrier Reef
•    to save our native species 
•    to employ 1,000 new Landcare Rangers.
•    to support new Indigenous Protected Areas
•    to fund the Environmental Defenders Office, for the first time in nine years
•    And to clean up our urban rivers and waterways.  

The legislation will be released as an exposure draft prior to being introduced into the Parliament before the end of 2023.

The Government’s full response to the Samuel Review can be found here: EPBC Act reform - DCCEEW