Nature Repair Market Bill 2023—Exposure Draft
The submission to the the Biodiversity Market Team of the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (Department) in response to ‘Nature Repair Market Bill 2023—Exposure Draft’ (Draft Bill), was prepared by the Australian Environment and Planning Law Group of the Law Council’s Legal Practice Section (AEPLG).
The AEPLG recognises that the State of the Environment Report 2021 emphasised that innovative management and restoration schemes are required to address biodiversity decline in Australia.1 This is mirrored by the findings of the 2020 review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act) (the Samuel Review).2 The Samuel Review recommended that the Commonwealth Government investigate and consider “opportunities to leverage existing markets (including the carbon market) to help deliver restoration”.3 The AEPLG and the Law Council support the implementation of the reforms proposed in the Samuel Review.4
The Draft Bill, as the AEPLG understands it, would establish a framework for a national voluntary market for projects that (upon their approved registration) are determined to enhance or protect biodiversity in native species and in turn, generate biodiversity certificates that can be bought, sold, or cancelled (NRM). Establishing the NRM, being a novel market to foster private sector participation in restoration, is broadly consistent with the recommendations of the Samuel Review.5
1 Ian Creswell, Terri Janke and Emma L Johnston, “Australia State of the Environment 2021: Overview”, Independent Report to the Australian Government Minister for the Environment (Commonwealth of Australia, 2021) 11 (Creswell, Janke and Johnston); Helen Murphy and Stephen van Leeuwen “Australia State of the Environment 2021: Biodiversity”, Independent Report to the Australian Government Minister for the Environment (Commonwealth of Australia, 2021) 9 (Murphy and van Leeuwen).
2 Graeme Samuel, Independent Review of the EPBC Act (Final Report, October 2020) (Samuel Review).
3 Ibid, Recommendation 28.
4 Law Council of Australia Media Release, EPBC Act in need of fundamental and incremental reform (19 July 2022).
5 Samuel Review (n 2), Recommendation 28.