Experts are calling for the creation of an official biodiversity-monitoring agency.

With Australia failing to halt species decline and our biodiversity management systems broken, now is the time to establish a new independent agency to manage our nation’s biodiversity data, according to Australia’s leading scientists. They are calling it the 'Biodiversity BOM'.

The Australian Academy of Science has sent a brief to all Australian MPs and Senators ahead of debate on the Federal Government’s EPBC Amendment (Streamlining Environmental Approvals) Bill 2020.

The brief by the Academy states that the governance, accessibility, evaluation, and monitoring of Australia’s biodiversity information and data is broken.

“The Academy considers this is an unacceptable situation, one that is not tolerated in other domains such as weather information, biosecurity, health, and welfare,” says Australian Academy of Science Fellow, Professor Craig Moritz.

“The Academy is of the view that it is time to establish a new national biodiversity information system led by an independent agency.

“Such an agency would independently observe, analyse, forecast and warn on the state and trends of Australia’s biodiversity in the way that the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) provides information on Australia’s weather and climate.

“It would need to have a legislative mandate, curate data, work with states and be empowered to enforce national environmental data standards.

“All decisions made under the EPBC Act require scientific evidence backed by reliable data. A transparent, accountable evidence base calls for data to be collected according to common requirements and standards, interpreted and reported, and for that information to be publicly available.

“There is currently no such multi-scale approach, nationally, to creating a data-focused evidence base for transparent and accountable EPBC decisions,” Professor Moritz said.

The three elements of reform proposed by the Academy are:

  • Establishing a national environmental analysis body (a ‘Biodiversity BOM’)
  • Implementing national data standards
  • Developing nationally consistent transparency of evidence