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New laws to safeguard state’s biodiversity

South Australia’s biodiversity will be better protected including from climate change as part of proposed State Government legislation.

New laws to safeguard state’s biodiversity

Public consultation on South Australia’s first ever Biodiversity Act is now open, delivering on an election commitment to introduce laws that support resilient and diverse ecosystems.

Biodiversity refers to all the different kinds of life on Earth and how they work together, including the variety of animals, plants, fungi and bacteria that make up our natural world.

Australia is recognised as having the highest mammal extinction rate in the world, and more than 1,100 South Australian native plant and animal species are threatened with extinction.

The major causes of biodiversity loss are human-led activities, such as habitat loss, land-use practices, pollution, invasive species and climate change.

The proposed Biodiversity Act, which is supported by Environmental Scientist and South Australia’s 2024 Australian of the Year, Tim Jarvis, aims to secure, restore and grow biodiversity by:

  • Ensuring South Australia can adapt to climate change.
  • Working with First Nations Peoples to integrate their knowledge into biodiversity management.
  • Establishing a governance framework for data collection and management, as well as biodiversity assessment, monitoring and reporting.
  • Incentivising actions to protect or regenerate SA’s biodiversity.

Mr Jarvis said human-led activities were the leading cause of biodiversity loss.

"This makes it our moral responsibility to do everything we can to halt that trend and protect and conserve our precious ecosystems," he said.

"Restoring biodiversity across the state will also deliver more economic prosperity, as well as boosting the physical and psychological benefits we get from being in nature.

"No matter how technologically advanced we become, humans rely on the Earth’s biodiversity and we must work together to protect it before the damage is irreversible."

Protecting biodiversity helps improve people’s quality of life.

Research by the Biodiversity Council shows 97 per cent of Australians want more action to be taken to look after Australia’s natural environment.

Healthy biodiversity also underpins economic growth, with $44 trillion – more than half of global GDP – dependent on nature.

A new Biodiversity Act will boost biodiversity conservation in our state, while integrating the goals of the Native Vegetation Act, the National Parks and Wildlife Act and the Landscape South Australia Act.

People can provide feedback on the opportunities for the new Biodiversity Act by visiting yoursay.sa.gov.au/biodiversity-act between now and Wednesday 14 February 2024