The Federal Government’s threatened species strategy is an important document that recognises the growing problem of species in decline and acknowledges the serious threat of climate change, the Australian Conservation Foundation said.
“We are encouraged by Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s commitment to this issue and his acknowledgement of the serious threat climate change presents for Australia’s threatened species,” said ACF’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.
“This strategy’s four actions areas – tackling feral cats, providing safe havens for species at risk, improving habitat and intervening to avert extinctions – are commendable.
“The focus on science and reversing the extinction trajectory of 20 birds and 20 mammals by 2020 is a positive step towards meeting Australia’s international targets.
“The emphasis on improved monitoring for species recovery was a key recommendation in ACF’s recent report with Birdlife Australia and Environmental Justice Australia.
“The strategy does fall significantly short in a number of areas. Threatened species recovery work is run on the smell of an oily rag. New money announced today is welcome, but funding remains inadequate. We urge the government to commit more.
“The strategy also fails to meaningfully address the biggest threat to threatened species and ecological communities – the loss and fragmentation of habitat – either through investment in new protected areas or by safeguarding existing critical places.
“Today I handed to Minister Hunt a petition from 47,000 ACF supporters, calling on the Minister to protect threatened species’ habitat from mining, logging and land clearing.
“The strategy unveiled this morning does not adequately do that job. We will continue to pursue this with the government.
“Tomorrow marks 15 years since Australia’s national environment law, the Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act, came into effect.
“ACF believes it is time to start the conversation about a next generation of national environment laws that will genuinely protect Australia’s unique and much-loved wildlife and biodiversity,” Ms O’Shanassy said.