Preventing ‘Death by a Thousand Cuts’

Australia’s environmental laws have been widely criticised for the failure to consider the cumulative impacts of development, leading to ‘death by a thousand cuts’ to our nationally-important places and species.

The Wentworth Group together with leading experts and practitioners have proposed a practical approach for addressing cumulative impacts in reforms of Australia’s environment law, in a way that minimises burden on developers and is within Commonwealth powers.

Upcoming reform of the Cwlth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 provides an opportunity to address this failure, and ensure that policy commitments to ‘repair nature’ or ‘nature positive’ will be supported by the reforms needed to make them a reality.

Our report, ‘Death by a Thousand Cuts’, has been presented to Government, the opposition and cross-benchers in preparation for these reforms. The recommendations proposed in our report draw on best practice examples of environmental regulation and cumulative impact assessment internationally, as is demonstrated in the supporting document produced by Associate Professor Rebecca Nelson, titled “Illustrative examples of cumulative impact approaches from other jurisdictions“.




Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists