Add your voice: Our animals need stronger nature laws

As a veterinary professional and animal carer, we are concerned about the impact of climate change on the health and welfare of our unique animals. Our current national environment laws (the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) are out of date, and no longer able to provide the protection that our wildlife, and the habitats they live in, require to keep them safe and healthy on a rapidly heating planet. These laws are currently under review, and we are calling for them to be immediately strengthened. Our unique animals and ecosystems are under threat. 

Australia is home to between 600,000 - 700,000 species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. About 84% of our plants, 83% of mammals, and 45% of birds are only found in Australia. 

But Australia also has the unenviable record of the worst mammal extinction rate in the world. For example, the Bramble Cay melomys, a small rodent in the Torres Strait Islands, is the first mammal to become extinct explicitly due to climate change, and 78 species in NSW alone have been declared extinct since European settlement. 

With over 2,200 ecological communities, plants, and animal species on the Government’s threatened species list nationally, it is urgent that the Federal Government deliver on its commitment to prioritise strong, new nature protection laws this year. 

We commend the Government’s introduction of an Environment Protection Australia (EPA) and Environment Information Australia, and the focus on compliance and enforcement of our existing nature laws. These are very necessary and long overdue. However, they are not enough.

We are urgently calling on our Government to introduce a comprehensive package of nature law reforms to protect our unique wildlife and their habitats. 

This must include: 

  • Climate change to be made a ‘Matter of National Environmental Significance’
  • Mandatory consideration of climate impacts in project assessments
  • EPA assessment of projects to include total CO2 and other climate pollutants, and take account of the estimated cumulative emissions
  • Strong and enforceable National Environmental Standards
  • The national environment law should be explicitly linked to other Australian Government climate priorities and commitments, including the Paris Agreement, Safeguard Mechanism, and national Climate Change Act

These changes are vital to ensure that our national environment laws “better protect nature, and that we are invested to protect our precious plants and animals.” [1] We ask that they are implemented in full as soon as possible. 

[1] Minister Plibersek, Press Conference, Taronga Zoo, NSW, 22 May 2024. 



You can read Vets for Climate Action's submission on the Federal Government's Nature Positive Plan and proposed amendments to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 here

Will you sign?

Add your voice to let the Federal Government we need strong national environmental laws now. 

Read More