Greens fix glaring flaws in Government’s biodiversity laws

Lynn MacLaren; Biodiversity Conservation Bill 2015; WA Parliament; Updating Biodiversity Laws; Greens WA; Greens

The Greens have successfully amended the Government's new biodiversity legislation to address two of its most glaring flaws: the so-called 'God' clause is no more and the Environment Minister will be required to seek and have regard to scientific advice when listing threatened species.

"The amendments we successfully moved in Parliament last night (Tues 23 Aug) to the Government's Biodiversity Conservation Bill will mean that both houses of Parliament would have to debate a Minister’s choice to approve an action that would cause a species of plant or animal to go extinct," Greens Biodiversity Spokesperson Lynn MacLaren MLC said.

“The Bill as it was originally tabled would have enabled such a decision to be made by the Minister alone.

“This so-called ‘God clause’ had been one of the most controversial aspects of the Bill and was a source of strong opposition to the Bill in the WA environment movement. 

"While the Greens remain disappointed about some other aspects of the Bill, there is no doubt that the modernised biodiversity conservation laws are needed to replace the archaic WA Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 and WA Sandalwood Act 1929.

"A second flaw in the Bill was also addressed by an amendment moved by the Greens last night that adds a requirement for the Environment Minister to seek and have regard to scientific advice when making a decision about listing of a threatened species of plant or animal or ecological community,” Ms MacLaren said.

"This again adds significant rigor to the proposed legislation.”

The Bill is expected to continue to be debated on Thursday.