17 April 2024


Environment and business to benefit from Nature Positive Plan

West Australian


It was in 1971, more than 50 years ago, when one of Australia’s first state-based Environmental Protection Authority was created - in Western Australia.

Since then, the problems facing nature and business have become more complex - and more urgent.

Not only are we facing an acceleration of climate change and species extinction, but business has also faced an increasing amount of red tape and uncertainty.

Regulations have struggled to keep up with both the needs of the environment and business.

The result has been a hotch-potch of laws and bodies, regulations and legislation - bad for nature and bad for industry.

In government, the Liberals knew they had a problem but put it on the backburner.

Despite their low-energy approach to environmental law reform, everyone agreed that the system needed fixing.

The Albanese Labor Government is prepared to face up to the challenge.

Since taking office in May 2022, the number one priority for me, in the portfolio of environment, was to take a look at these laws and establish what is working and what is not.

The Albanese Labor Government looked at the whole of the regulatory system with a fresh eye.

That is, an eye on what is most going to protect our beautiful natural world but that also works for business.

Our response was the Nature Positive Plan.

This plan is a staged rollout of sensible reforms that better protect Australia’s natural wonders, while also supporting faster, more efficient decision making.

We passed our first stage of reform last year with legislation to protect water for drinking and agriculture, and by introducing a market that will encourage investment in nature repair.


We announced stage two yesterday - strong changes that will better protect the environment while supporting sensible development.

Australia will get its first independent national Environment Protection Agency with new powers and penalties to better enforce federal laws.

Stage two will also deliver better information and transparency, and faster environmental approvals.

These reforms will provide greater certainty to business and help drive investment in nation-building projects.

We will set up a new body called Environment Information Australia which will give businesses easier access to the latest environmental data, release State of the Environment reports every two years, and report on progress on national environmental goals.

As part of the legislation, we will see faster approval decisions on projects thanks to a $100 million investment to speed up decision making.

This significant investment includes more support for staff to assess project proposals from business, including renewables and critical minerals, and more tailored support upfront to help business more effectively comply with environment law.

There will also be more funding for research into threatened species so sensitive areas can be more easily avoided and suitable projects can be more quickly approved based on robust, existing publicly available data.

This package is a win for the environment and a win for business.

We’re delivering stronger protections for the environment, and faster, clearer decisions for business.

It will result in the right developments, in the right places.

As we ask the Parliament to support these sensible laws, we will continue working on our broader package of environmental law reform – and consulting closely with the community and stakeholders.