Environment

Related policies

  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Australians
  • Animals & Biodiversity
  • Energy
  • Finite & Non-Renewable Resources
  • Job Guarantee
  • Planning & Development
  • Sustainable Population & Immigration (Australia)
  • Trade
  • Transport
  • Waste
  • Water

Policies Sections

  • General
  • Climate Change
  • Forestry

Background

Sustainable Australia Party is sometimes asked how we differ from The Greens party.

  • Firstly, SAP is an independent community movement from the political centre.
  • Secondly, within a broad sustainability-focused environmental policy platform, and based on the clear environmental science that population growth is a significant contributor to Australia's growing environmental crises, SAP advocates for policies that would significantly slow Australia's rapid population growth.

"Our report said that no single government or sector was responsible for the problems. They were the result of the growth and distribution of our population, our lifestyle choices, consumption patterns and the technologies we use." State of the Environment Report via The Conversation

 See full Background below for scientific and related sources.


Policy

Recognise that a healthy natural environment is the foundation upon which all human wellbeing and prosperity is built, and so prioritise environmental sustainability to better protect, manage and restore Australia's fragile and unique natural environment.

Policy Methods (Federal & State)

To help achieve this Sustainable Australia Party will:

General

  • Enshrine into Australian law the fundamental human right of a healthy natural environment for its citizens and prioritise this in all policy and development decisions

“Australia is one of only 15 nations (a list that also includes Canada and the United States) that does not recognise the human right to a healthy environment at the federal level.” The Conversation

  • Establish an independent National Sustainability Commission to plan and report on national environmental standards
  • Establish a federal Environment Protection Agency to act as independent environmental watchdog
  • Operate Australia’s economy within the principles of ‘ecological economics’ (also see Economy policy)
  • Recognise that industries such as renewable energy and electric motor vehicles also have major environmental impacts and do not provide a solution to techno-fix business-as-usual economic (consumption) growth
  • Establish a national 'job guarantee' program, initially focusing on the environment (also see Job Guarantee policy)
  • Invest more in environmental education and the protection, maintenance and ecological restoration of the natural environment.
  • End broadscale land clearing and initiate a nationwide ecological restoration and rewilding program to rehabilitate degraded lands
  • Properly include the traditional knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians’ in environmental research and decision-making
  • Protect Australia from Invasive Species by adopting the Invasive Species Council’s six-point action plan
  • Recognise that human impact on the environment to a function of three factors: population, affluence (i.e. consumption) and technology, being the ‘IPAT’ formula
  • Stabilise Australia’s population size as soon as practicable (also see Population & immigration policy).(1)
  • Assist farmers to transition to scientifically verified regenerative agriculture practices
  • Promote plant-based food options that provide environmental benefits

Climate change

"The viability of our societies depends on leaders from government, business and civil society uniting behind policies, actions and investments that will limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius." Australian Broadcasting Corporation

"The world’s leading climate scientists have warned that the prospect of limiting global warming to 1.5C will be out of reach within 12 years at current rates of greenhouse gas emissions, in a report that finds it is now “unequivocal’’ that human activity is heating the planet." The Australian [$]

  • Act on climate change and contribute to staying below 1.5 degrees global temperature rise compared to pre-industrial levels (3,4)
  • Aspire to lower Australia's greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the targets recommended from the best scientific evidence available to the Climate Council (previously Climate Change Authority), being a preferred target of net zero emissions by 2035
  • Set a minimum target of net zero emissions by 2050
  • Recognise that lowering greenhouse gas emissions and particularly our preferred climate target for Australia becomes much more realistic with a stable population

“Population growth had cancelled out three quarters of the global efforts to reduce carbon emissions in recent years." PM

  • Require all countries to meet the same or similar climate goals
  • Place tariffs or bans on imports where any relevant carbon pollution has not been priced into the goods and services
  • Fund and subsidising research and development into renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency initiatives.
  • Adopt a renewable energy target (RET) in line with our commitment on zero net emissions.
  • Impose a moratorium on all new coal mines in Australia
  • Impose a moratorium on all new fracking, including for coal seam gas (also see Energy policy).
  • Phase out fossil fuel subsidies.
  • Adopt a globally consistent carbon pricing mechanism that does not unfairly penalise Australian industries.
  • Vigorously lobby other nations to ensure fair and reasonable global action on greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Stabilise Australia’s population size as soon as practicable (also see Population & Immigration policy) .(5)

"The federal government’s State of the Environment 2016 report (prepared by a group of independent experts) predicts that population growth and economic development will be the main drivers of environmental problems such as land-use change, habitat destruction, invasive species, and climate change." The Conversation

The Victorian Government's Victorian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2018, is further shocking evidence (unreported in the mainstream media) of how government-engineered rapid population growth is wiping out our efforts to reduce per capita (and therefore total) emissions.

Forestry

  • Manage Australia’s native forests so they increase in both quantity and quality
  • Support a diverse range of plantation products, while recognising that plantations (monocultures) can and do cause serious environmental problems
  • Restore failed plantations back to native forest
  • End old growth forest logging.(8)
  • Subject all state Regional Forest Agreements to the jurisdiction of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) to ensure all forestry is subject to appropriate environmental and planning approval requirements.
  • Given the huge loss of Australia’s native forests over the past 250 years, fully consider calls to end all native forest logging and support an appropriate scientific enquiry into logging in Australia to answer this question. In the meantime:
    • Minimise the scale and improve the practices of native forest logging, including:
      • Avoiding the all habitats of threatened, vulnerable and endangered native species
      • Increasing the forest reserve system
      • Operate on long rotations, ideally at least 100 years
      • Maximising the Australian economic value-add for timber products
      • Banning the export of raw materials (e.g. woodchips)
      • Preventing, through non-accreditation, Australian native forests and its waste from being burnt for biomass power as a ’renewable energy‘ source under any Renewable Energy Target or related scheme.
  • Assist farmers and rural landowners, where practicable, to engage in agroforestry

Background

Sustainable Australia Party is sometimes asked how we differ from The Greens party.

  • Firstly, SAP is a more centrist party.
  • Secondly, within a broad sustainability-focused environmental policy platform - and based on the clear environmental science that population growth is a significant contributor to Australia's growing environmental crises - SAP advocates for policies that would significantly slow Australia's rapid population growth. If we are to lower Australia's total environmental impact, as we must, we need to both lower our per capita environmental impacts and stabilise our population. Scientific and related sources:

"Our report said that no single government or sector was responsible for the problems. They were the result of the growth and distribution of our population, our lifestyle choices, consumption patterns and the technologies we use." State of the Environment Report via The Conversation

"A key conservation group wants human population growth to be listed as a threatening process under Australia's environment laws. The Australian Conservation Foundation has asked the Federal Department of Environment to review the link between Australia's growing population and the loss of biodiversity." Australian Conservation Foundation via ABC

"We need to focus on limiting human population growth, reducing resource consumption, and cracking down on government corruption, if we're going to stop the global loss of species known as the sixth great extinction." Nature Ecology & Evolution via ABC

"All our environmental problems become … harder - and ultimately impossible - to solve with ever more people." Sir David Attenborough

If we are to realistically lower Australia's total environmental impact, as we must, we need to both lower our per capita environmental impacts and stabilise our population size. 

See footnotes for further reading.(5)


Footnotes:

  1. Sustainable Australia Party supports the science that humans are contributing to climate change. To this end, our Australian greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets are adopted from recommendations by the Climate Change Authority.
  2. Sustainable Australia Party supports the current ACT Government's aim for 100% Renewable energy by 2020
  3. Population growth undermines efforts to lower carbon emissions: CLICK HERE and HERE
  4. Old growth forest is forest that is ecologically mature (usually at least 100-200 years old) and has been subjected to negligible unnatural disturbance.
  5. Further reading re population growth: The Green case for controlling our borders - Ecologist. Closing the sustainability loop - Sustainable Australia Party president William Bourke.

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