State of the Environment Report 2017 Released

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State of the Environment Report 2017 Released

The State of the Environment Report 2017 has been released today. The Report reviewed environmental policies from 2011 to 2016. The Report concluded that factors underpinning environmental degradation is due to population growth and economic activity. Key areas that are of issue were identified as

  • Climate change
  • Land-use changes
  • Habitat fragmentation
  • Invasive species; and
  • Cumulative impacts of issues.

The SoE Report recognised that improvements have been made in areas of

  • Agriculture
  • Air quality
  • Commercial fishing; and
  • Oil and gas exploration in marine environments.

However, there remains outstanding improvements necessary to meet environmental challenges. The SoE report suggested that the most fundamental strategy in addressing Australian environmental issues was an overarching national policy to guide environmental decision-making up until 2050 that would foster leadership, accountability in decision-making, recognise the inherent value of the environment, decouple environmental value from economic gain and meet climate change challenges.

The Federal Minister for the Environment responded to the Report’s findings, summarising the SoE to demonstrate improvements on the 2011 SoE, but further progress is necessary. The Minister’s mention about the Great Barrier Reef failed to acknowledge the ongoing degradation of the Reef as symptom of climate change, stating the Government’s key approach under the Reef 2050 Plan was centred on improving water quality.

The SoE will be a guiding document in developing Federal Government environmental policy.


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