Seeking submissions from DEA members - Speak up and protect our environment for the sake of human health

The Federal Government is currently undertaking a once-in-a-decade review of Australia’s national environment laws and is asking for public input. This is a critically important opportunity for us to speak up about the need to protect our environment for the sake of human health. 

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) is Australia’s primary piece of environmental legislation. Its purpose is to safeguard our wildlife and natural places and thereby protect our life support systems – clean air, clean water, healthy soils and a stable climate. 

Yet, it has abjectly failed to do this. Australia leads the world in mammal extinction and has the highest rate of biodiversity loss of any country, bar Indonesia. We also have among the highest rates of deforestation in the world. The EPBC Act is weak, outdated and full of holes. It must be reformed if we are to meet the scale of challenges we face. 

Out of this review, the Government can decide to strengthen our laws to better protect nature, or weaken them further to aid big business in exploiting it. We must speak up! If enough of us demonstrate how our laws are failing and show we care, then the laws will more likely to be strengthened. 

 What can you do? 

Leave a comment: If you are short of time, you can make a brief comment – under 300 words. While the review panel won’t treat comments as formal submissions, they will still read and consider them – and every voice counts! 

Make a submission: Submissions hold more weight. Other organisations have created detailed guides on how to write an effective submission for this review:
  • See the Australian Conservation Foundation guide here
  • See the Wilderness Society guide here 

In your submission, it is important to identify yourself as a doctor.  Wherever you can in your submission, highlight the fundamental dependence of human health and wellbeing on a healthy environment. DEA’s biodiversity policy can give you ideas. 

Using personal examples can help. Can you think of a lived experience of nature destruction that has impacted your mental or physical health, or the health of your patients, friends, family or community? 

Keep in mind the broad questions the review is seeking to address (although you don’t need to address all of them):
  •  Is the EPBC effectively delivering what was intended? 
  •  Is it up to future challenges? 
  •  How well is the Act being administered (e.g. enforcement, funding, implementation etc)? 
  •  What are the priority areas for reform?
  •  What changes are needed? Why? 

Remember, this doesn’t need to take a lot of time. Between 300-1000 words is optimal for a personal submission.

By simply entering a submission, you will be showing that strong environment laws matter to you. By saying that you are a doctor and raising human health in your submission, you will be drawing attention to the importance of strong environmental laws to protect health. 

The due date for submissions and comments is April 17th, 2020. 

Please let DEA know  if you have made a comment or entered a submission so that we can have a sense of how many people are speaking up for nature for the sake of human health.  You can do this by sending a copy of your submission to

Click here to review DEA's key submission points.

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