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Protecting and investing in nature


Why we need to act.

Wentworth cares deeply about environmental protection and the State of the Environment Report laid bare the huge challenges facing nature in Australia. We have the highest rate of deforestation in the developed world, the highest rate of animal extinction of any country, and we are doing irreparable damage to the Great Barrier Reef. Add to that the existential threat of climate change – and our environment has never been in greater danger.

What I'm doing about it.

The environment has been one of my top priorities since entering parliament and I've met regularly with the Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek, as well as a broad range of stakeholder and conservation groups. My priorities have been:

  • Investing in Nature Repair: The recently passing of the Nature Repair Bill is a big win for our environment and climate. The Nature Repair Market will drive much needed private investment in the environment, and the amendments I secured in the House - expanded in the Senate - will mean funding goes to nature positive projects, not just offsetting environmental destruction elsewhere. It's great news that we'll also see an expansion of the Water Trigger as part of these reforms, something that independents have campaigned hard for. As a result, massive new fracking projects in the Beetaloo Basin cannot proceed unchecked.
  • Strengthening Environmental Laws: Hundreds of you have written to me concerned about Australia’s inadequate environmental laws, which don’t protect threatened species, don’t stop native forest logging, and don’t account for the biggest threat to nature – climate change. The government have committed to reforming these laws, but it’s been slow progress. Earlier this year, I pressed the Prime Minister in Question Time on the need for action, and I recently met the Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek, to share Wentworth’s concerns. I have pressed the Minister on the need to expand the water trigger, to take account of carbon emissions when assessing new projects, and to end the carve-outs for destructive native forest logging. I am working closely with the Climate Council and the Environmental Defenders Office on potential amendments to the government’s legislation, which will come before Parliament next year.
  • Ending Native Forest Logging: Native logging is bad for our environment, bad for our climate, and cost NSW taxpayers $29 million in subsidies in the last two years. I have asked the Environment Minister in Question Time to end this destructive practice and joined the crossbench in an open letter calling on her to take action. Whilst the Environmental Minister has now committed to bringing native logging under tougher environmental laws, I will continue to push for a nationwide ban. 
  • Stopping Plastic Waste: It’s staggering that three million tonnes of packaging is sent to landfill each year – and each piece takes up to 1000 years to break down. I wrote to the Environment Minister to urge tougher action and we have now seen some positive announcements. These include: mandatory packaging standards and targets (including for recycled content), development of a national roadmap to help harmonise kerbside collection, and progress on reducing plastic waste from the fashion industry.
  • Preventing Sea Dumping: Durin the June 2023 sitting period, it was deeply disappointing to see the government and opposition vote in favour of legislation to support unreliable and unproven carbon capture and storage technology, designed to facilitate the expansion of new gas projects. Myself and other members of the crossbench put forward a series of amendments that would have prevented the bill from supporting fossil fuel expansion, but the major parties teamed up to block them. This was a sobering reminder of how much work we still have to do to protect our environment and our climate.
  • Stopping Fossil Fuel Exploration at PEP-11: I know people in Wentworth are strongly opposed to plans to drill for oil and gas off the coast of Sydney. I have been a vocal opponent of this project in parliament and have met with the Minister for Resources several times to emphasises Wentworth’s opposition to the proposals.  

Watch and read.

  • The Guardian - Independent MPs urge Greens to improve Nature Repair Bill (read here)
  • The Guardian - Labor and Crossbench strike deal to establish Nature Repair Scheme (read here)
  • My speech in parliament on the Nature Repair Bill (watch here) and my amendements to the legislation (watch here
  • My Nature Repair Community Zoom with Lyndon Schneiders, ACBF, and Jennifer Barwick, Pew Charitable Trusts (watch here)


Updated 06/12/23.

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