The World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement of a biodiversity certificates scheme to reward landholders who restore and protect wildlife habitat.
Anthony Albanese announced the creation of the scheme this afternoon. He said it will operate in a similar way to current carbon crediting legislation and make it easier for businesses, philanthropists, and land managers to invest in landscape restoration.
WWF-Australia’s Acting Head of Healthy Land and Seascapes, Tim Cronin said the scheme would finally recognise the value of nature.
“Nature is often described as ‘priceless’. That’s part of its appeal, but in a market economy that makes nature practically worthless,” said Mr Cronin.
“This scheme should help recognise and measure the enormous economic value of nature and, in doing so, allow us to better protect it and reverse Australia’s biodiversity crisis.
“It is also a chance to reward the many farmers, businesses and Indigenous land managers who are doing the right thing by nature and provide incentives for others to help regenerate Australia.”
“The recent State of the Environment Report
warned that Australia’s environment is deteriorating at an alarming pace. The government needs to pull all the levers at its disposal to stop this decline and environmental markets are a really important lever.”
While welcoming the scheme, Mr Cronin said it should not be used as an alternative to stronger laws to protect nature.
“Biodiversity certificates should be designed to complement - rather than replace - effective nature laws,” he said.
“It’s great to recognise landholders who are doing the right thing, but it’s just as important to have strong laws to prevent people doing the wrong thing.
“We know the EPBC Act is failing miserably in its job to protect threatened species. This government has the opportunity to deliver a new generation of nature laws before we lose another species.”
Mr Cronin said WWF-Australia looked forward to seeing more details on how the scheme will be measured and verified on the ground, and encouraged a national public enquiry on developing the details.
“The devil will be in the detail. We look forward to working with the government to develop a science-based scheme with high integrity that can quickly mobilise the investment required to regenerate critical habitat across Australia,” he said.
“In order to focus and galvanise action and investment, we call on the Australian Government to establish a national, timebound commitment to create a Nature Positive economy.”
WWF-Australia recently released a report with Deloitte called Banking on Natural Capital
, which outlines how markets can be used to value and conserve nature.
About Regenerate Australia
Regenerate Australia is the largest and most innovative wildlife recovery and landscape regeneration program in Australia’s history. Launched by WWF-Australia in October 2020, the multi-year program will rehabilitate, repopulate and restore wildlife and habitats affected by the 2019-2020 bushfires, and help to future-proof Australia against the impacts of a changing climate. People can show their support and help Regenerate Australia at www.wwf.org.au/regenerate-australia