Queensland must urgently overhaul its threatened species protection and recovery programs following a major internal review that reveals a disturbing lack of strategy, funding and oversight that is failing the state’s precious plants and animals.

The leaked internal review, reported by Guardian Australia today, presents a concerning picture of the Queensland Government’s efforts to save our species, despite the state being blessed with globally significant biodiversity and being the site of one of Australia’s most recent extinctions – the Bramble Cay melomys.

The review found among other things:

  • There is no overarching state strategy or policy to save Queensland native species.
  • Recovery plans are not being properly funded and the community is being left to do the work.
  • Less than 10 per cent of all Queensland’s threatened species have recovery plans and just one per cent have plans written in the last five years.

Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) Nature Campaigner, Andrew Picone, said there were 955 plants and animals on Queensland’s threatened species list, including beloved creatures like the cassowary, Mary River turtle and northern quoll.

“These findings show that successive Queensland governments have abandoned our threatened species. A good government would invest in protecting our native species and helping those in the community who are committed to doing the same,” Mr Picone said.

“Queenslanders are rightly proud of our beautiful environment and want the creatures that enrich their state to thrive.

“Queensland is not alone. Australia has one of the highest extinctions rates in the world and is failing to protect the critical habitat these creatures need to survive.

“While the review is welcome, we need more transparency and accountability from the Queensland Government before another species becomes extinct. This review is an important opportunity to implement meaningful reform to protect threatened species and critical habitats.

“The lack of state action to save species reinforces the need for national leadership. We need stronger national environment laws to protect threatened species, especially if we are to meet our international obligations to prevent extinctions.”

Read ACF’s report into Australia’s species extinction crisis and habitat clearing

Josh Meadows

Media Adviser at the Australian Conservation Foundation