Portfolios - Environment

Human society depends upon the ecological resources of the planet, therefore we must protect and maintain the integrity of its ecosystems. West Australians, as global citizens, have a duty of care to manage our unique natural environment and its resources, to ensure their ongoing sustainability for future generations, and to help protect the ecological integrity of our planet.

The devaluing and unsustainable exploitation of the natural environment has led to degraded and unstable ecosystems, loss of biodiversity, land degradation, resource depletion, increasing pollution, and climate change. The pace of exploitation of our previous abundance of fossil fuels has greatly intensified these trends, leading to population increase and increased resource consumption that now exceeds the regenerative capacity of the Earth. Human induced climate change poses the greatest threat to our world, and urgent and sustained local, national and global action is required in this critical decade to 2020 to ensure a safe climate.

The Greens (WA) are committed to creating an environmentally sustainable future, integrating social, economic and environmental imperatives into public policy through transparent democratic processes.

See also Australian Greens Environmental Principles

Principles
The Greens (WA) believe in
  • a society which lives within the ecological, resource and atmospheric limits of the planet
  • an improved quality of life for all West Australians, with a reduction in the material consumption that contributes to the degradation of the planet
  • dramatically reduced Greenhouse Gas emissions and a restructured economy focused around the rapid uptake of both carbon biosequestration and renewable energy technologies as part of a transition toward a low (and eventually zero or net negative) carbon economy
  • encouragement, empowerment and resourcing of the participation of local communities in the planning and implementation of strategies to protect and manage the environment
  • to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to protect and restore our country (see also WA Greens Indigenous Rangers Initiative)
  • reserve systems that are comprehensive, adequate and representative of all of our unique ecosystems
  • sustainable eco-tourism that is community centred, supported by and supports the protection of our natural places, Aboriginal heritage, our cultural diversity, and the heritage of our towns and cities (see also Greens (WA) Precious Places policy)
  • the conservation of remaining natural habitat for native animals in Western Australia (see also Greens (WA) Animals policy)
  • a Comprehensive Adequate Representative (CAR) and secure reserve system linked across all of Western Australia's bioregions (see also Greens (WA) Biodiversity policy)
Measures
The Greens (WA) will initiate and support legislation and other actions to
  • reform the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    • strengthen and rigorously enforce the clearing regulations under the Environmental Protection Act
    • improve monitoring of illegal clearing and breaches of conditions under the Environmental Protection Act and take legal action with effective penalties where appropriate
  • implement a Biodiversity Conservation Act for Western Australia (see also Greens (WA) Biodiversity policy)
    • promote an effective and sustainable strategy for fuel-reduction management that will protect biodiversity and moderate the effects of wildfire for the protection of people and assets, developed in consultation with experts, custodians and land managers.
    • give immediate statutory protection to 'Threatened Ecological Communities' identified by the State Government by their declaration under the Wildlife Conservation Act and any new Biodiversity Act
    • establish a system of 'biodiversity credits' to place an economic value on protecting and restoring natural areas
    • protect, restore and extend remaining habitats, preserving biodiversity and maintaining ecological balance (see also Greens (WA) Animals policy
  • employ the precautionary principle when considering the importation of any new non-endemic species into Western Australia and the management of existing non-endemic populations
  • establish safeguards ensuring human health and the environment will not be put at risk by nuclear technologies (See also Greens WA Uranium Policy)
  • phase out persistent and bio-accumulative chemicals, prevent the release of hazardous chemicals into the environment and rehabilitate affected environments where possible. (see also Greens Environmental Principles)
  • ensure State Government is utilising, for their own reporting purposes, environmental accounting systems such as a Genuine Progress Indicator designed to augment the reporting of the Gross State Product
  • push the State Government to provide substantial and reliable access to financial assistance, resources and advice for the research, development and uptake of environmentally sustainable technologies.
  • create incentives for property owners to establish linked wildlife corridors
  • prohibit clearing in local government areas with less than 30% native vegetation remaining and prohibit further clearing of vegetation types that are found to be at less than 10% of their pre-European settlement extent
  • protect wetlands and ground water dependent ecosystems (see The Greens (WA) Wetlands policy)
  • prohibit mining, clearing and land development in conservation reserves and in environmentally sensitive areas
  • implement the recommendations of the Environmental Protection Authority's Fire Management of the Kimberley and other Rangeland Regions of Western Australia
  • implement rigorous evidence based bushfire research that considers the use of fire, and best environmental and fire risk minimization in building practices
  • fully implement the Environmental Weed Strategy for Western Australia (see also The Greens (WA) Agriculture policy)
  • provide greater funding for environmental projects and facilitate participation by local communities in planning and implementing strategies to protect the environment
  • increase support for regional natural resource management bodies, catchment groups, regional environment councils, other community organisations, individuals and local government in developing, delivering and monitoring of ecologically sustainable natural resource management strategies (See also Greens (WA) Regions policy)
  • restore the health of arid lands (see also Greens WA Lands policy)
  • To improve the legitimacy of regulatory bodies and advocate for them to provide adequate protection to Western Australia’s environment, as is their mandate
  • strengthen DPAW’s environmental science and wildlife management resources to ensure that our precious places are well-managed.(see also Greens (WA) Precious Places policy)
  • support investment in nature-based tourism that protects the environment and supports local communities
  • regulate planning, development and management of WA’s coastal zone in readiness for the impacts of climate change
  • provide adequate State and Federal funding to ensure a significant expansion of the Indigenous Ranger and Indigenous Protected Area programs (see WA Greens Indigenous Rangers Initiative)
  • incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ expertise with and obligations to country in the development and implementation of ecologically sustainable land management (see also WA Greens Ecological Sustainability policy)
  • the inclusion of ecological and environmental principles in primary and secondary school curricula
  • Strong Australian biosecurity systems to prevent the introduction of pest plants, animals and diseases
  • Incorporate meaningful industry regulation to make sure the farming and marketing of animals is as ecologically sustainable as possible, and free from cruelty
  • develop effective and humane control of introduced animals such as Cane toads to protect native habitats and native species
  • improve programs for introduced animal surveillance and control (see also The Greens (WA) Animals policy) 

 


Footnotes

The CAR reserve system is based on three principles

  • including the full range of vegetation communities (comprehensive)
  • ensuring the level of reservation is large enough to maintain species diversity, as well as community interaction and evolution (adequate), and
  • conserving the diversity within each vegetation community, including genetic diversity (representative).

bioregion is an area constituting a natural ecological community with characteristic flora, fauna and environmental conditions and bounded by natural rather than artificial borders.

The precautionary principle states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action.

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