Email your submission on Australia's draft new environment laws

Until 30 March 2024, the Albanese government wants to hear from you on its proposed reforms to Australia's draft new environment laws.

Submissions are a key part of community consultation – but they work best when we back them in with pressure directly on our decision makers.  

You can use the form to the right to search for your local MP and draft your submission.

When you hit send, it will also be sent to the PM, Minister Plibersek, and the department email address receiving submissions.

Begin your submission by introducing yourself, where you live, and why this issue matters to you.

Then, include some information about your concerns with the new laws and what you want to see.

Six key concerns with the current draft laws

You can also read our full submission guide for more detail.

1. End lawless logging and land clearing

To meet the federal government’s commitment to end deforestation by 2030, much stronger protections for native forests must be included.

Land clearing – which currently escapes federal assessment time and time again – must be clearly brought within the new laws.  

We need a land-clearing trigger – either in the new Act or in the new National Standard for Threatened Species and Communities.

This will ensure plans to clear areas over a certain size where threatened species are likely, or may occur, must be assessed under the new laws. 

2. Protect habitat

The federal government has promised to turn around the extinction crisis and protect critical habitat. 

But the draft laws water down current legal protections for critical habitat with narrower, ambiguous new terms like “irreplaceable”.

Our new laws need to strengthen protection for critical habitat and make it mandatory for every species – not take it backwards. 

Without stronger habitat protection, our iconic koalas are at risk of extinction – alongside hundreds of other native species.

Red lines to protect critical habitat must be drawn for every species. 

3. Halt decline in threatened species populations

Nothing that pushes threatened animals and plants closer to extinction should be permitted. 

To deliver on their promise of no new extinctions, the federal government’s new laws must rule out impacts that reduce the population numbers of species already on the path to extinction.

A centrepiece of the new National Standard for Matters of National Environmental Significance must be that actions comply with a requirement to maintain and improve population numbers of threatened species.  

The draft laws don't mention halting the decline of threatened species at all – that’s why halting and reversing decline must become a stated purpose of the new Act.

4. Put climate damage front and centre

Climate change is a crisis multiplier. Severe, widespread climate impacts are already increasing pressures on our environment across the continent. 

Our new laws must include a new climate ‘trigger’ to specifically require proper assessment of projects that will create significant carbon emissions (100,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent), and ensure projects with unacceptable climate risks cannot proceed.  

This climate trigger must include emissions resulting from Australian gas and coal being burnt overseas (scope 3 emissions).  

In addition to halting more coal and gas, our new laws must respond to escalating climate impacts and protect ecosystems that absorb carbon. 

5. End political interference, unchecked discretion or god-like powers

Environmental decision making must be based on the best available science and clear rules, and our new laws must remove excessive decision-maker discretion. 

This means no loopholes or special deals, and decisions can’t be made on the personal whim of the decision maker of the day.

It means decisions under the Act, like whether impacts are unacceptable and comply with the new National Standards, must reflect science – and not the subjective ‘satisfaction’ of the EPA or the Minister. 

The new Act needs clear requirements for actions and decisions to comply with Recovery Strategies, Threat Abatement Strategies, and the new Standards, in full – not just parts of those documents.

Communities must also have the right to review the merits of decisions – to make sure decision-makers properly follow the science.  

There must be no Ministerial call-in powers that allow the Minister of the day to override the EPA with unchecked power to approve any environmental destruction.  

And, we need an EPA set up to succeed.

To genuinely safeguard this powerful new decision-making body from vested interests, the EPA CEO must be accountable to an independent board with qualified members. This is key to delivering the integrity and trust in the new system that the government promised.

6. Prevent offset greenwash and don't introduce payments for destruction

Too often, offsets look good on paper, but in practice let companies off the hook for destroying and polluting our environment. Few gains are ever made on the ground from planned offset activities, which are supposed to make up for real-world losses suffered by species from destructive practices. 

No one should be able to buy the right to kill threatened species or bulldoze their habitat.

The proposed ‘restoration contributions’ sets up a pay-to-destroy scheme that will take our environment laws backwards, not forwards.  

It will mean destruction of habitat and death of endangered species can be approved on the basis proponents pay money – with no requirements to make sure it's even possible to deliver offsets with on-ground benefits for the same species, and nothing that requires benefits to commence before damage occurs.

This will mean damage continues toward predicted extinction for too many species – it won't deliver the government’s promise of no new extinctions. 

Our new laws must include strict rules on offset activities to make sure they actually deliver on-ground results for the same species in meaningful time frames. 

Red-lines need to be set that won't allow offsets for everything – for species already on the path to extinction, critical habitat and population losses cannot be offset.  

And the government must rule out payments for destruction.

See our full submission guide for more information.