Take Action on Climate Change

To The Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison MP

Leader of the Opposition, Anthony Albanese

We the undersigned demand you take immediate action to reverse the impacts of climate change by funding an Australian rainforest restoration program.

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BACKGROUND

99% of the original lowland subtropical Big Scrub rainforest has been destroyed in and around Northern NSW where disastrous flooding occurred in March 2022 and Australia is experiencing back-to-back unnatural disasters, just as climate scientists have predicted for decades.

While we must stop burning fossil fuels as a matter of urgency, protecting and restoring what remains of the Earth’s rainforests is essential to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

From prolonged drought, followed by extreme monsoonal rain events, more intense and frequent cyclones, the bushfires of 2019-20 and now floods across the entire east coast, Australians are seeing firsthand the impact of this country’s inaction on climate change.

People are reeling and they want action. They don’t just want action to recover their homes and livelihoods, they want action to ensure these extreme weather events don’t continue for generations to come.

This is a climate emergency. We know we must quit our addiction to coal and gas.

We also know that the rapid loss of rainforests, around the globe is a major contributor to climate change.

Rainforests store massive amounts of carbon so when they are destroyed, cut down, burnt, or degraded, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere.

Not only do rainforests help to regulate the planet’s temperature and regional rainfall patterns, they also absorb massive amounts of solar radiation and prevent both floods and droughts.

We cannot stop climate change without saving our tropical forests and we must restore what we’ve lost.

That’s why we’re calling on the Australian Government to urgently invest in the restoration of Australia’s rainforest ecosystems.

In 1989 Prime Minister Bob Hawke committed to plant one billion trees as the country buckled under the weight of severe land degradation, salinity and erosion. That announcement catalysed the Decade of Landcare and the formation of hundreds of grassroots groups working together to reverse the impacts of poor land management.

We must do the same, but with a focus on restoring those ecosystems which can help us reverse the impacts of climate change. We must establish millions of trees across Australia’s degraded rainforest ecosystems to fortify the country against the unfolding climate disaster.

Doing so will not just benefit the climate. Restoring rainforests will:

  • create jobs, many of them for First Nations people
  • provide habitat for threatened plants and animals
  • restore degraded creek and river banks
  • reduce erosion and runoff from flooding events
  • improve water quality in catchments

We’re calling on the Australian Government to urgently establish a $1 billion rainforest restoration fund to address the climate crisis by restoring Australia's rainforests and working with Australia’s rainforest restoration groups to ensure this work benefits everyone.