We need to get Nature Positive right

Nature positive

The federal government’s Nature Positive agenda provides another excellent example of the How being as important as the Why.

A nature positive approach would see new projects leaving the environment better than they found it, so as to reverse long term environmental decline.

In 2022, the federal government’s state of the environment report found that, “the state and trend of the environment of Australia are poor and deteriorating.” The report cited the increase in the number of threatened species from 1,774 to 1,998 between 2016 and 2021. It also noted the inter-causal relationship between nature loss and climate change, as well as the risk to industries like tourism and agriculture, which are heavily dependent on environmental capital.

In response, the federal government released its Nature Positive Plan in December 2022, which, among other things, foreshadowed the establishment of National Environmental Standards to drive nature positive outcomes, as well as the establishment of a voluntary Nature Repair Market.

But, given the importance of nature to our future, the federal government needed to nail the How of designing and implementing the proposed measures.

This might have included taking the time to build community awareness of the problem, as well as a consensus that we need to repair, rather than just conserve, our deteriorating environment. But it certainly means taking a considered, inclusive and transparent approach, so as to build industry and community confidence in any new system.

The concept of nature positive development isn’t the brainchild of the Albanese government. Other countries are working towards it. Closer to home, BHP has it as one of its social value commitments.

But, again, the How matters as much as the Why.

This article also appeared in The West Australian newspaper.


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