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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, led a matter of public importance and spoke in the Federal Parliament to highlight the urgent need to prioritise passing environmental law reforms to defend nature and address the extinction crisis. Please see above video for full speech.

“Australia has one of the highest extinction rates in the world and our weak environmental laws don’t help. But the government continues to delay its promised ‘nature positive’ reforms.

“We are in desperate need of a transparent, strengthened Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act and related National Environmental Standards. These must recognise and involve First Nations communities in project considerations. And they must account for the climate impact of projects because conservation planning is obviously linked directly to climate change.

“We also need a strong, securely funded and genuinely independent National Environmental Protection Agency; one that can give expert advice and act as a tough cop on the beat to ensure accountability and compliance with these laws and regulations.

“And underpinning this, we need greater public funding for conservation and environmental management to ensure we can protect at least 30 per cent of our nation’s terrestrial and marine habitats by 2030. We must ensure we have the people and programs in place to protect, restore and repair our degraded ecosystems and threatened species.

“The extinctions are happening now, the forests are being cleared now, and the community is demanding action now. The Government can no longer prioritise legislative tweaks and side-projects while delaying the hard and vital work of comprehensive reform.”