WWF-Australia said a series of environment policies announced by the ALP in the election campaign were “encouraging” and provided a solid base to tackle pressing threats to Nature.
WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman described an initial $100 million investment into a Threatened Species Fund as a “good start”.
“WWF estimates that recovery plans for all our threatened species will cost around $250 million per year and it is hoped this fund could build to the required level,” Mr O’Gorman said.
WWF welcomed Labor’s pledge to double the number of Indigenous Rangers to over 1,600 full-time-equivalent positions under the Working for Country program.
“Our experience of working with Ranger groups for 15 years has proven that they are critical to saving native species by marrying modern science with traditional Indigenous knowledge.
“In coming years we’d like to see ranger positions build to 2,000, with milestones for equal opportunity for women, and for ranger groups to also be established in urban and regional centres,” Mr O’Gorman said.
Mr O’Gorman welcomed the ALP policy to establish new stronger environment laws and a national Environment Protection Authority.
“Strong laws are critical if we are to address Australia’s threatened species crisis. New laws should end excessive tree clearing, protect critical habitat for at risk species, and tackle climate change,” Mr O’Gorman said.
Mr O’Gorman also welcomed ALP commitments to ban single-use plastic bags and microbeads from 2021, create a National Container Deposit Scheme, establish a National Waste Commissioner, and provide $15 million to assist our regional neighbours to clean up the Pacific Ocean.
“Regulation to ban single-use plastic bags and microbeads is an important and crucial first step and it should not stop with these two products,” Mr O’Gorman said.
“WWF is calling for the next Australian Government to target the top 10 worst single-use plastics, as the EU recently committed to do,” he said.
Regarding the Great Barrier Reef, Mr O’Gorman encouraged the ALP to announce more detail on its plans to protect one of Australia’s most beloved natural treasures.