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Federal law reforms must not leave decision makers blind to climate harm from fossil fuel development

Major reforms by the federal government seeking to halt Australia’s biodiversity crisis will be fatally compromised if they fail to put climate change front and centre of decisions about development, says Lock the Gate Alliance.

The government has just finished two days of “lock up” briefings with stakeholder groups on its planned “Nature Positive” laws as part of reforms to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

The reforms will introduce new national environmental standards for government decision making, but so far fail to give decision makers the ability to consider the role of proposed developments in worsening climate change.

Lock the Gate Alliance Head of Research and Investigation Georgina Woods, who attended the briefings said, “These important reforms will be fatally undermined if the government doesn’t ensure that a project’s contribution to climate change is front of mind for environmental decision makers.

“We understand the government has a hard task here, but Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen just stood up in front of the world at COP28 in Dubai and acknowledged that the world and Australia must transition away from coal and gas or face the catastrophic impacts of worsening climate change.

“The government must use every tool available to them - including this one - to fight climate change and undertake the just and fair transition away from fossil fuels.

“If a project or activity fuels climate change, that is absolutely an impact the decision maker needs to consider when deciding whether or not it goes ahead.

“Climate change should be at the centre of all decision making and that has to start right now with any and all proposals to expand fossil fuel production.”


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