Given it is now 52 years since Richard Nixon created America's Environmental Protection Agency in order to bypass the plethora of confusing, and often ineffective, environmental legislation passed by individual states why has it taken Australia so long to do the same?
It is, after all, possible that if this country had gone down the same path much earlier we would not be leading the world when it comes to mammalian extinctions. It is also possible we would not be the only developed country on the World Wildlife Fund's list of deforestation hotspots, or that a further 200 plant and animal species would not have become endangered in just five years.
Modern Australia's track record on protecting one of the most unique and fragile ecosystems on earth is appalling. European settlement has proven disastrous for flora and fauna that is unlike anything else on the planet.
The ethos of "if it moves shoot it, if it grows cut it down" is as true today as it was 150 years ago. The clearing of old growth forests on an industrial scale has done more to bring our beleaguered koala population to the brink of oblivion than the Black Summer bushfires ever could.
It is hard to fathom how practices such as the clearing of native forests by logging or for development or agriculture were exempted from existing laws. It is estimated half of eastern Australia's original forests have been lost. That has put severe pressure on at least 700 different species of animals and plants.
One effect of the overhaul of environmental laws announced by Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek on Thursday will be to significantly strengthen the level of protection for the forests that have survived.
The government was responding to the findings of the independent review into the 22-year-old Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act completed by Graeme Samuel more than two years ago.
That review recommended the establishment of an "independent cop", an Environmental Protection Agency, to enforce national standards to stop the decline of the natural environment.
Mr Samuel said the environment was getting worse under the laws intended to protect it: "The current environmental trajectory is unsustainable".
The then Morrison government kicked the can down the road, using the excuse of the pandemic. It was also opposed to some of Mr Samuels' recommendations. The then Environment Minister Sussan Ley ruled out any possibility of an EPA.
"The government ... will not, however, support additional layers of bureaucracy such as the establishment of an independent regulator," she said.
The Albanese government has taken a very different approach with Ms Plibersek announcing "a new Environment Protection Agency to make development decisions and to enforce them".
Labor is also committed to legislation that sets clear national standards for environmental protection, improves and speeds up decision making on environmentally sensitive projects, and building trust and integrity.
While the government's response is not to everybody's liking with the LNP already claiming an EPA would be "an assault on the job creators of our nation", it does have many supporters. The Australian Conservation Foundation has welcomed the proposed reforms saying their success would be measured by whether or not they ended the extinction crisis.
While, as is always the case, there will be a lot of devil in the detail, the pendulum is swinging in the right direction. The future is a little brighter for Australia's endangered flora and fauna than it was yesterday.
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