Our national threat abatement system is currently failing to avert Australia’s extinction crisis. This is not because the system is fundamentally flawed. The elements are mostly sound. But they need to be applied more systematically, strengthened with more flexible response options, underpinned by intergovernmental commitments and cross-sectoral collaborations, and adequately funded. Most of all, Australia needs to become much more ambitious about overcoming major threats to nature.
In Averting Extinctions we introduce Australia’s threat abatement system—as enshrined in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999—identify the problems with it, and make recommendations for how the system can be strengthened. The solutions have been developed in collaboration with ecologists, policy experts and environmental NGOs, and incorporate planning recommendations from the independent review of the EPBC Act in 2020.
In this document, we identify the problems with Australia’s threat abatement system and recommend reforms. These need to be coupled with reforms to improve recovery planning and implementation, but they are not the focus in this report. Our proposed threat abatement reforms have been developed in collaboration with ecologists, policy experts and environmental NGOs, and incorporate planning recommendations from the independent review of the EPBC Act in 2020. We assume some knowledge in our readers of how Australia’s national environmental law, the EPBC Act, operates.