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Sometimes it takes a milestone to make us stop, reflect and to realise what it is we take for granted. Today is World Environment Day and, for me, one of those stocktake moments.
It immediately brings to mind the pressing and very real threats facing Australia's great natural environments - all-powerful mining interests, exponential rates of urban expansion and pressing climate change impacts.
But I'm also mindful of the spectacular Australian places and species we're so lucky to share this ancient continent with, especially considering how close we are to losing some of them.
Based in Melbourne for work, I'm lucky to have the Alpine National Park hours away. It's a special place, home to unique alpine-adapted species like the mountain pygmy possum, which was thankfully spared the Victorian Government's proposal to expose it to cattle grazing and trampling when the Federal Government intervened earlier this year.
Being from Queensland, I try to get back up north to family as much as I can. When I do, sometimes I'm lucky enough to be able to spend a bit of time on the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Sandy Strait, the glassy water between Fraser Island and the mainland. I'm never alone in doing this, both are busy tourists hubs.
It's important not to take this legal protection for granted. This World Environment Day, it's never been more so as we face an outrageous ploy being played out by big business to wind back the national environment law
They're also both places that have survived short-sighted state government ambition. The Great Barrier Reef escaped the scars of oil rigging in the seventies and eighties because the federal government was making the decisions, not the state government. The Great Sandy Strait still has freshwater inflow through a functioning network of estuaries thanks to the federal government stopping the Queensland Government from damming the Mary River at Traveston, ensuring Fraser Island's protection.
Federal governments have the power to block development proposals made or supported by state governments that are not in the national interest because Australia has a national environment law.
At the willing of the Business Council of Australia (BCA), the Australian Government recently signalled the law could be changed so state governments would have the final say on whether many development proposals go ahead.
And Federal Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, then said, if in power, "as the BCA has recommended, the Coalition will offer state and territory governments the opportunity to act as a one-stop-shop for environmental approvals".
They say it's about saving business time and money or, as the developers and miners put it, cutting 'green tape'.
This is a thinly veiled attempt by the mining industry and the big polluters to declare open season on Australia's reefs, rainforests, wetlands and wildlife with proposals for coal seam gas mining, drilling ocean beds, damming rivers and dredging coastlines
These businesses know state governments are more likely to put their demands ahead of national interest.
Winding back national environment protection, under the guise of saving corporations from dealing with paperwork, is an irresponsible mistake that generations to come would find hard to forgive.
This time next year, I dearly hope we can all consider ourselves lucky to have national laws that protect this country's magnificent places and species of national, and often international, significance.
For this to happen, Australia's leading companies need to realise that much of their success is dependent on this unique continent's natural environment and business has a social responsibility to protect these places for all Australians to share well into the future.
Don Henry is the CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation
This article was orginally published by ABC Environment