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A TURNING POINT: ENVIRONMENT GROUPS WELCOME FEDERAL NATURE LAW REFORM TO HALT THE NT’S EXTINCTION CRISIS

09.12.2022

The Environment Centre NT welcomes federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek’s announcement of landmark reforms to our federal environmental law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. However, more ambition and urgency are required to end the Northern Territory (and Australia’s) extinction crisis.

Executive Director of the Environment Centre NT Kirsty Howey says,

“The Federal Government has set a worthy and ambitious target of zero extinctions – now it must meet it.”

“The Northern Territory’s ecosystems are collapsing – from our savannas, to our arid zone, to our mangroves. The Northern Territory has the highest rate of mammal extinction in the world. Strong national protection laws that halt the destruction of Australia’s nature are critical to ending the Territory’s extinction crisis.”

“The government’s response is a good starting point, outlining some significant and long overdue reforms, including the establishment of new national environmental watchdog, and strong national environmental standards against which major projects will be scrutinised.”

“In addition, Territorians should celebrate the promise to expand the water trigger to apply to fracking, which will threaten our iconic rivers, aquifers and wetlands. However, this additional level of protection for our water will be too little too late if the Northern Territory Government proceeds with plans to allocate 260 billion litres of water per year as part of its Beetaloo Water Allocation Plan before these reforms are locked in.”

“There are many gaps and risks that could undermine the government’s ambitions.  It is profoundly disappointing that merits review of environmental approvals will be dropped, and no climate or land clearing trigger will be implemented. Land clearing has increased over 300% in the NT in the few years, and some of the biggest carbon bombs in Australia are planned for the Territory – including the Beetaloo Basin which will increase Australia’s emissions by up to 20%.”

“Ambition and urgency are required to end Australia’s extinction crisis.”