Greens oppose Government’s Biodiversity Bill in current form

The WA Greens will not support  the Government’s proposed new biodiversity legislation unless major amendments are made to it.
 
The Government introduced the Biodiversity Conservation Bill into WA’s Upper House today and debate is likely to occur at the next sitting in August.
 
“This Bill can’t be supported in its current state; we will work constructively to try to improve it during debate in the Legislative Council,” Greens Biodiversity Spokesperson Lynn MacLaren MLC said.
 
“I note that attempts to amend the Bill in the Lower House were unsuccessful and there are serious flaws in the Bill which the Greens and conservation groups are very opposed to.
 
“One of them is the ‘god’ clause which gives the Minister unfettered powers to allow a species to become extinct.
 
“Despite the Bill containing some of the language of modern biodiversity legislation, the finer detail reveals too little protection for threatened species, habitats and ecological communities and too much unfettered power for the Minister.”
 
Background:
·         The Biodiversity Conservation Bill 2015 was introduced by the Government to the Legislative Council today (30/6/3016) and is likely to be debated in the next sitting which begins on 16 August.
 
·         The Bill would increase penalties and allow the listing of threatened ecological communities for the first time in WA.
 
·         The WA Greens introduced a Bill for Priority Reforms first in the previous Parliament and again during this term. These priority reforms included increased penalties.
 
·         The Government’s Bill would replace WA’s archaic Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.  While previous ALP State Governments circulated discussion papers, they never got to the point of introducing a new Bill for debate. Even with the Greens in the balance of power, which would have all but assured the passage of stronger, updated laws, the ALP failed to table proposed legislation.