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representatives vote 2023-06-21#1

Edited by mackay staff

on 2023-08-04 10:10:00


  • Bills — Nature Repair Market Bill 2023, Nature Repair Market (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2023; Second Reading
  • Nature Repair Market Bill 2023 and another - Second Reading - Agree with the bills' main idea


  • <p class="speaker">Sharon Claydon</p>
  • <p>Just before debate is resumed on this bill, I remind the House that the question now is that the amendment moved by the honourable member for Goldstein to the amendment moved by the honourable member for Wentworth be disagreed to.</p>
  • The majority voted in favour of a [motion]( to read the bills for a second time, which is parliamentary jargon for agreeing with their main idea. This means that the House will now consider the bills in greater detail.
  • ### What is the bill's main idea?
  • According to the [bills digest]( summary:
  • * *The [Nature Repair Market Bill 2023](;query=Id:legislation/billhome/r7014) (NRM Bill) seeks to establish the legislative framework for a voluntary national market in biodiversity certificates. The market would enable project proponents to undertake – on a range of land tenures, including in aquatic environments and the ocean to the extent of Australia’s territorial sea (generally, 12 nautical miles from the coast) – projects that protect or enhance biodiversity. The project proponent would be able to apply to the Clean Energy Regulator for a unique biodiversity certificate that could then be sold to interested persons in the market.*
  • * *The NRM Bill is framework legislation, with significant elements of the scheme to be provided in a series of legislative instruments to be made by the Minister, including rules, biodiversity assessment instruments and methodology determinations.*
  • * *The [Nature Repair Market (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2023](;query=Id:legislation/billhome/r7013) makes minor amendments to the Clean Energy Regulator Act 2011 and National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 to facilitate operation of the proposed scheme.*
  • * *The Bills indirectly respond to two key reports and reviews relating to the state of Australia’s biodiversity, the State of the Environment Report 2021 and the Independent Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Samuel Review). These highlight the deteriorating state of terrestrial and marine biodiversity and the failure of our national environmental law to adequately protect Australia’s biodiversity and iconic places.*
  • * *Over 400 submissions were made to 2 rounds of consultation undertaken by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW).*
  • * *A review of submissions indicates stakeholder views’ range from cautiously optimistic – largely in recognition of the urgent need to increase investment in the protection and enhancement of biodiversity – to highly critical of a broad range of policy and technical issues. Chief among these are concerns about market-led commodification of nature and the integration of the proposed market with the still-to-be-implemented reform of Australia’s national environmental laws. A large number of submitters were of the view that the Bills should not progress until those reforms are finalised.*
  • <p class="speaker">Fiona Phillips</p>
  • <p>I rise today to speak in support of the establishment of the nature repair market. The Nature Repair Market Bill 2023 will be a significant step forward in the Albanese Labor government's nature-positive plan. I live in one of the most beautiful areas in the world, the south coast of New South Wales. I feel it is my responsibility to help keep it that way. In Gilmore we have some of the most innovative and passionate people you'll ever meet, people who take it upon themselves every day to think of new and improved ways to look after the land that they are the custodians of. The beauty of the land, the people and the culture are just to some of the reasons we need the nature repair market.</p>
  • <p>This market will provide easier access for businesses, organisations, governments and individuals to invest in projects aimed at protecting and repairing our precious natural environment. The goal is simple: we want to leave the world around us better off for our children and grandchildren.</p>
  • <p>The Australian government has committed to protecting 30 per cent of our land and seas by 2030. Commitments such as this are crucial, given the horrendous findings of the 2021 <i>State of the environment</i> report, which, to be clear, paints a grim picture of environmental degradation, loss and inaction. To achieve a nature-positive future, we need significant investment in conservation and restoration. We must harness the power of business and private sector investment to reverse environmental decline, and we have all the elements in Gilmore. We just need to harness them, which is what this bill will help us achieve.</p>
  • <p>Let's talk about a few examples of environmental protection that are happening in my electorate. I grew up on a dairy farm, and through the decades it's fair to say I've seen a lot of change. From my conversations with farmers over the years, it's clear how far ahead of government they are in recognising the impact of our changing climate and the need to adapt for the future. It's this experience we need to harness. Take dairy farmer Rob from Narrawilly Farm and Croobyar Farm at Milton, which has been a dairy farm for more than 160 years. Over the past 30 years, farmer Rob has been busy regenerating the land by planting more than 1,000 trees each year, rehabilitating rainforest and creating wetland areas. Farmer Rob says, 'We are custodians for a short period of time, and I want to leave the farm in a better condition than how I received it.' And farmer Rob is not alone; we know that 94 per cent of farmers are actively undertaking natural resource management, including tree planting, protecting waterways and destocking during dry periods to maintain ground cover.</p>
  • <p>Further north, in Kiama, one cannot help but be struck by the story of The Pines, Kiama. Established as a dairy farm in 1854, The Pines is a family run microdairy, run by Kel and Mahlah Grey. They manage all facets of farming themselves, using organic, biodynamic, holistic and regenerative farming methods. Using minimal processing with their small and lovingly cared for herd, The Pines makes a range of regenerative dairy products, including award-winning cheese, yoghurt, a range of artisan gelato and, of course, milk. The Pines places a huge emphasis on sustainability and enhancing the precious ecosystem of the farm, where the wellbeing of animals and the land is at the forefront of everything and regenerative farming practices ensure nothing from the farm goes to waste.</p>
  • <p>These farmers and many like them are ahead of the game because of the decade when we had a government that did not care about climate change and did nothing to support farmers to adapt. The former government stuck their heads in the sand about what climate change means for the future, which is why, after a wasted decade, the Albanese Labor government aren't wasting time. We're going to make it easier for landholders to repair and maintain the land. We're going to help farmers like Rob realise their dreams of leaving the land they work on in better condition than they received it. The Nature Repair Market is going to be a key part in realising the Albanese Labor government's Nature Positive Plan, and I know it'll make a huge difference to the lives of farmers where I live on the New South Wales South Coast.</p>
  • <p>The proposed legislation will allow the Clean Energy Regulator, an experienced and independent statutory authority, to issue tradable biodiversity certificates to Australian landholders. These certificates can then be sold to businesses, organisations, government and individuals, ensuring participation in the market. It's a tested system and it's going to work. All landholders, including Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, conservation groups and farmers will have the opportunity to participate. The breadth of restorative activity is so broad. It'll be things like weeding, native species planting and pest control, and it will include projects on land and on water, encompassing lakes, rivers, marine areas and coastal environments. I'm sure this will be welcome news for local land care groups, such as Shoalhaven Landcare. They have a very successful fox control program.</p>
  • <p>Importantly, the Nature Repair Market will create employment and economic opportunities, especially for Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders. It will promote and uphold the principles of free, prior and informed consent, respecting their connection to country and enabling them to shape projects that reflect their knowledge and values. Just last month, I went on a cultural burn in Mogo. It was incredible. To watch people caring for country and the land was remarkable, all while they were taking the time to explain the burn to community members present. I saw how the Walbunja Rangers and Batemans Bay Local Aboriginal Land Council cared for the land.</p>
  • <p>This is the type of activity that the Nature Repair Market will support. Cultural knowledge will be recognised and valued as it always should have been.</p>
  • <p>Managing how and when land burns is so important, and I'll tell you why. Like everyone in our communities, we all went through the horrific bushfires of 2019 and 2020. These fires were devastating on every level. People lost their lives, homes and livelihoods, and the repair bill was absolutely eye watering. But if the land were managed better, like it was by our First Nations people, I think it could have been different. I saw how the bushfires burned out of control through almost 90 per cent of my electorate of Gilmore, but the Walbunja Rangers and the Batemans Bay Local Aboriginal Land Council were able to burn the land recently with ease. In doing this, they were able to ensure that part of the earth wouldn't burn out of control in the future. The Nature Repair Market Bill will allow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to participate in a market based economy to deliver services like cultural burns, because they help the environment&#8212;they repair nature. I'm excited for the traditional owners of the South Coast to be able to practice these important cultural traditions and to be recognised for their contributions to maintaining our beautiful region. But it doesn't stop there.</p>
  • <p>I'm excited to see more projects, like the $1.5 million delivered in federal funding from the Urban Rivers and Catchments Program for a project connecting community to Shoalhaven waterways, supporting great local organisations like Shoalhaven Riverwatch and Shoalhaven Landcare. This project will reduce rubbish and pollution and engage bush care groups and bush regeneration companies to re-vegetate the Shoalhaven River. There will also be an education program incorporated into the urban rivers program. Local schools will assist in the regeneration and maintenance of the Shoalhaven River. This will help educate the next generation of people who will live and work in the Shoalhaven. It will also ensure that people in the next generation understand the importance of managing and caring for our waterways like the Shoalhaven river.</p>
  • <p>From waterways to the skies: I want to revisit a topic that is close to my heart, something that I speak about every year when I attend the birdlife event in Ulladulla. That is the beautiful birdlife we have in the Shoalhaven. Living on the south coast of New South Wales, we are so privileged to be surrounded by the most incredible abundance of bird species. Sometimes, when you live here, you can forget just how special that is. We just take it for granted that we see these unique and rare species in our own backyard. Being surrounded by so much beautiful birdlife is a privilege, but it brings with it a key responsibility to protect and enhance those species that we share this beautiful place with. We as individuals all bear that responsibility. It is hard not to feel passion about that when we are so immersed in it. That's why I always get excited to see the passionate people who come along to talks like at BirdLife Shoalhaven and BirdLife Australia at Ulladulla and Shoalhaven Heads. These are passionate people doing what they can to help our native species. Thanks to all those people for all that you do and for your dedication.</p>
  • <p>Of course, individuals also rely heavily on a government structure and policy framework that supports and enhances the work they're doing. They should be able to rely on a framework that is working with those who want to protect our species, rather than leaving them to do all the heavy lifting. I'm so proud to be part of the Albanese government because we are taking seriously the responsibility of government's role in this.</p>
  • <p>When I spoke at the Bird Haven Festival conference in 2022 at Shoalhaven Heads, it was not that long after the 2021 <i>S</i><i>tate of the environment report</i> was released&#8212;a truly shocking and heartbreaking assessment of where our environment was at. In particular, the impact of the bushfires, an ecological bomb, was stark and obvious. The report outlined immense habitat loss for our threatened species. The report also outlined an eight per cent increase in the number of plant and animal species that were listed as threatened. What was clear was that government needed to do more, urgently.</p>
  • <p>We didn't waste any time starting that, which is why I'm so pleased to be speaking on this nature repair bill. The previous government wasted enough time, and because of that we need to move quickly. We need to move quickly if we're going to turn this ship around. Luckily, we now have a master at the helm of our ship. The Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek, got straight to work and has put some truly incredible notches in her environmental belt over the last year. Her focus is making Australia nature positive: protecting threatened species, boosting recycling efforts, protecting more of our land and oceans, and supporting First Nations communities to manage land, sea and country.</p>
  • <p>The government is putting its back into managing our environment for future generations. Finally, the environment is back front and centre where it belongs. It is vital that we have strong environmental protection laws functioning effectively this country. We want an economy that is nature positive to help us halt destruction and repair nature, and this legislation is based on just that. The principles are clear: clear national standards of environmental protection, improving and speeding up decisions, and building trust and integrity. For the first time, we will introduce standards that decisions must meet, which describe the environmental outcomes that we are seeking, and the new environmental protection authority will make development decisions and enforce them properly. Putting protection of threatened species and ecosystems at the heart of decision-making, key parts of our nature positive plan include: delivering national environmental standards, improving environmental data and information, progressing regional planning, improving conservation planning, reform of approaches to environmental offsets, and enhancing First Nations partnerships to give First Nations people a stronger voice in our system of environmental protection. The government worked closely and collaboratively with environmental groups and the business community to get to this point. This is well-thought-out legislation, and of course it is backed up and supported by research, by the science. What we're trying to do now is push Australia's environmental protection forward in a positive way for the first time in a decade. The job is big but we are working together to get it right.</p>
  • <p>I want to take a moment here to thank our community groups. Government would get nowhere without the hard work and dedication of incredible individuals and environmental groups. There are too many groups to name but I would love to give a shout-out to all the volunteer groups maintaining and improving our ecosystems on the South Coast. Recently I had the opportunity to join the team from Seven Mile Beach Landcare for a morning of weeding. Volunteers have been passionately caring this coastal bushland for many years and you can see the difference. I also had the opportunity to see first-hand the work of Boongaree Bush Care at Broughton Creek near Berry, with the planting of trees and the establishment of a reconciliation garden. It cannot be overstated how important our local conservation groups are right across Gilmore. Citizen science projects and educational awareness presentations for the public are so invaluable, sharing knowledge and understanding with local people. I sincerely thank each and every person across Gilmore who has put in the work to improve and maintain our environment.</p>
  • <p>In conclusion, the establishment of the Nature Repair Market is a transformative step towards a nature-positive future. It aligns with our international commitments, generates investment and job opportunities, and creates new income streams for landholders, including Aboriginal people, Torres Strait Islanders and farmers. It represents a clear break from the neglect and environmental degradation of the past. I urge all members of this House to support this crucial legislation. Let us stand together to repair and protect our precious natural environment for the sake of future generations. I commend this bill of the House.</p>
  • <p class='motion-notice motion-notice-truncated'>Long debate text truncated.</p>