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22 May 2008 - HSI tells Garrett to save money and protect biodiversity      

HSI tells Garrett to save money and protect biodiversity

Sydney, 22 May 2008 – WORLD BIODIVERSITY DAY        
                                                    

We’ve been warned, failing to protect biodiversity is expensive. The destruction of flora and fauna is costing the world $3.3 trillion a year according to European Union and German environment ministry research released this week.

To coincide with this warning and to mark World Biodiversity Day, Humane Society International (HSI) has presented Federal Environment Minister, The Hon Peter Garrett, with a Habitat Protection Strategy to ensure habitats for Australia’s flora and fauna are protected from present threats and fortified against the challenges they will face as our climate changes.

“The Strategy would see Australia’s national environment laws deployed to comprehensively protect biodiversity across the nation, as a matter of urgency”, said Nicola Beynon HSI Wildlife & Habitat Protection Program Manager.

“Australia’s biodiversity has already been ravaged by vegetation clearing, feral animals and weed invasion and we have the highest rate of mammalian extinctions in the world. The crisis is set to deepen as climate change presents our wildlife with ever more serious challenges”, said Ms Beynon. Yet biodiversity is crucial to life as we know it, it ensures our water ways flow and our soils are healthy, and, without it, climate change would be even more cataclysmic”.

“Australian Governments have yet to take the pending extinction crisis seriously and the Rudd Government needs to make up for lost time”, continued Ms Beynon. “If Minister Garrett were to enact HSI’s Habitat Protection Strategy over the next 6 months, we could start to feel confident that the Government is going to take the crisis seriously”.

The HSI Habitat Protection Strategy includes calls for the following urgent measures under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act:

  • By end of 2008 protect critical habitats for all Australia’s nationally ‘critically endangered’ and ‘endangered’ species under the Register of Critical Habitat
  • By end of July 2009, protect critical habitats for all of Australia’s nationally ‘vulnerable’ species under the Register of Critical Habitat
  • By end of 2008, protect at least 50 ‘critically endangered’ ecological communities
  • By end of July 2009, protect at least 50 ‘vulnerable’ ecological communities
  • Protect Australia’s last remaining wild and unregulated rivers as National Heritage
  • Protect the Daintree Lowland Rainforests, Barrow Island, Paroo River and the Australian Antarctic Territory as National Heritage

HSI is also calling for significantly increased resources to ensure that once listed under the EPBA Act, funds are available to make sure habitats are protected properly.

HSI is currently acting as an adviser to the Australian Government delegation attending a meeting of the Parties to the Convention for Biological Diversity in Bonn, Germany this week.





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