Senate Inquiry into our new nature laws

Until 15 July 2024, you can have your say on our federal nature law reform including three critical issues: the new EPA, ending extinctions, and climate change. 

Ready to make a submission?

The Senate Inquiry is taking submissions until Monday 15 July 2024.

With our short guide below, you can make an impactful submission in just fifteen minutes to encourage Australian senators to make simple changes to the bills to strengthen the EPA and empower it to take meaningful action to address the climate and extinction crises. 

Scroll down for our step-by-step guide.


The climate and extinction crises can't wait

1. An EPA with integrity and access to justice

The Albanese Government has passed laws through the Lower House to introduce a new federal environment regulator, Environment Protection Australia, or the EPA. The laws are currently before a Senate inquiry, and will then reach the Senate for debate before they can be passed into law. The Senate has an important opportunity to fix these bills and deliver an EPA with integrity.  

As federal regulator, the new EPA will have the power to assess and approve projects, and will be responsible for enforcing our environment laws. 

But the proposed EPA has some serious flaws. There are some key gaps in the legislation which leaves the EPA open to powerful vested interests, and a lack of mechanisms to ensure accountability. 

Australia’s new EPA needs to be strong, independent and free from political influence, to deliver environmental decisions based on science instead of politics.

This means an EPA led by an independent, expert board – not a chief with God-like powers. 

And, it means clear duties that require the EPA to make approval decisions aimed at halting and reversing species decline, and fearlessly enforce our environment laws. 

What needs to change?

2. Ending extinction

Habitat destruction is driving extinctions across Australia and we are a global deforestation hotspot. Against this backdrop, our government has committed to ending deforestation by 2030. 

Yet the current EPBC Act is failing to address deforestation. It is full of loopholes and exemptions that enable rampant bulldozing of listed threatened and migratory species habitat. 

Four simple amendments to the EPBC Act would enable the EPA to take meaningful action on the deforestation crisis in Australia – and protect threatened species being decimated as a result. 

What needs to change?

3. Climate change

Climate change threatens every ecosystem across the continent. Already, climate change is seriously impacting iconic wildlife – and pushing threatened species closer to extinction.   

But right now, the EPBC Act fails to explicitly, clearly or comprehensively address the threat of climate change. In addition, the EPBC Act does not currently contain any meaningful link with Australia’s climate targets under the Climate Change Act 2022, nor the emissions limits in the newly reformed Safeguard Mechanism. It is illogical that no analysis of these legislated carbon budgets currently takes place before a new project is approved.  

Australia’s new laws should clearly mandate scrutiny of the true climate risk of proposed projects (including all new coal and gas projects), and provide the power to reject them due to their likely climate impacts. 

They should also ensure that all of the laws comprising Australia’s climate policies work together in a direct and meaningful way to drive down emissions, meet our international emissions obligations and prevent further climate-related extinctions. 

What needs to change?

The easiest way to draft and share your submission is via a Word document, Google document or similar. 

The best submissions are unique. Good submission generally:

  • Are concise and well-structured
  • Emphasise the key points so they are clear
  • Outline concerns as well as suggesting recommendations to address them
  • Only include information and documents that are directly relevant to your key points.
  • Only include information you are comfortable to see published on the internet.

Together, we can run more game-changing court cases, legal interventions and advocacy campaigns for environmental justice.