The federal government needs to increase funding for conservation and environmental protection by at least 400 per cent if it is to reverse the dramatic decline of Australia’s wildlife, reefs and forests documented in the new national State of the Environment report.

That’s the stark assessment of the country’s major national environment group, the Australian Conservation Foundation, upon the release of the five-yearly audit.

The 2017 State of the Environment report shows:

  • Climate change is altering the structure and function of natural ecosystems in Australia
  • Land clearing is damaging soil, waterways and biodiversity
  • Coal mining and the coal-seam gas industry are putting increasing pressure on nature
  • Grazing and invasive species continue to pose a significant threat to biodiversity
  • Environmental watering and natural floods have benefitted the Murray-Darling rivers
  • Insufficient resources and a lack of national coordination hamper environmental policy.

“Our national anthem proudly says our land abounds in nature’s gifts, but based on this report we need to seriously question how much longer this will be the case,” said Australian Conservation Foundation CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.

“This report documents how big polluters, mining companies and land clearers continue to greedily grab nature’s gifts – our forests, rivers, air and seas – and exploit them for profit.

“The people of Australia expect our government to protect this land’s special places and unique wildlife, but this report shows politicians are failing to uphold their duty of care.

“Funding for conservation has been in dramatic decline since 2013 and now only amounts to 5c in every 100 dollars of taxpayer expenditure; meanwhile pollution continues to rise.

“In the upcoming budget the Government needs to reverse the cuts it has made and commit to at least a four-fold increase in funding for conservation work if Australia is to seriously tackle this country’s extinction crisis.

“Ultimately, we need a new generation of environment laws that actually protect Australia’s unique wildlife and treasured places,” she said. 

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Tom Arup on 0402 482 910 or Josh Meadows on 0439 342 992. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email action@acf.org.au.