Catholics back call for tougher laws

Snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef near Bundaberg in 2015. (CNS photo/David Gray, Reuters) See SCIENCE-ACADEMY-BIODIVERSITY May 17, 2019

A Catholic environmentalist and the chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council have backed calls for stronger environmental protection laws and standards in Australia. Source: The Catholic Leader.

Graeme Samuel recently released an interim report for his review of Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, saying the act was “ineffective” and “is not fit to address current or future environmental challenges”.

“Australia’s natural environment and iconic places are in an overall state of decline and are under increasing threat,” Professor Samuel said in the interim report.

“The current environmental trajectory is unsustainable. Fundamental reform of national environmental law is required, and new, legally enforceable National Environmental Standards should be the foundation.”

Professor Samuel said a “strong, independent cop on the beat is required”.

Co-founder of the Global Catholic Climate Movement Jacqui Remond said: “Environmental law is in need of great reform and we need an effective and ambitious act to work within Australia,” she said.

“There’s a need for clear environmental standards, there’s a need for an independent regulator, or an environmental watchdog, to enforce everyone to comply to those – businesses, governments, decision-makers and everyone …”

Ms Remond said she had concerns about the report’s recommendation on a decision-making authority.

“I’m very, very cautious about devolving decision-making to the state level because in many cases this could seriously, on a regular basis, result in even greater destruction,” she said.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council chair John Lochowiak said the council welcomed the interim report.

“[The report] It draws attention to the vital importance of perspectives from First Nations Australians in ramping up protections in both these areas of environment and heritage.”

FULL STORY

Catholic environmentalist says Australia has failed as God’s caretakers of earth following interim report (By Peter Bugden, The Catholic Leader

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