Following today's listing of three Threatened Ecological Communities under national environment law, Humane Society International (HSI) congratulates Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley for bucking the trend set by her predecessors and acting promptly on the expert advice of the Threatened Species Scientific Committee.
As the nominator of all three of the threatened habitats, HSI has been frustrated by their protection being needlessly delayed by former Environment Ministers Josh Frydenberg and Melissa Price, who used a legal loophole to defer the listings on multiple occasions. Documents obtained by HSI detailed that Minister Frydenberg had been lobbied against protecting the woodlands by industry groups and Coalition colleagues.
"Recognition of the threat status of these habitats has been a long time coming. It's very regrettable that for two of the woodlands it should have been provided years ago, and that since then impacts have continued unabated while landholder opportunities have gone begging,” said HSI's Head of Programs Evan Quartermain.
"That said, it's extremely refreshing to have a Minister willing to accept the science and get on with the job of protecting these special places and supporting the communities where they occur. Minister Ley's decisive action will be of great benefit to our threatened wildlife.”
The Threatened Ecological Communities listed by Minister Ley today are:
- Poplar Box Grassy Woodland on Alluvial Plains (Endangered), habitat for bridled nailtail wallabies, koalas and superb parrots in northern NSW and southern Queensland;
- Tasmanian Forests and Woodlands Dominated by Black Gum or Brookers Gum (Critically Endangered), which provides for swift parrots, orange-bellied parrots, Tasmanian devils and spotted-tailed quolls; and
- Tuart Woodlands and Forests of the Swan Coastal Plain (Critically Endangered), home to Baudin's and Carnaby's cockatoos, Western ringtail possums and southern brush-tailed phascogales.
The three woodlands have received additional legal protection along with 51 individual species also listed or having their threat status changed today. Such a number of changes to the Act's schedules being required illustrates the alarming state of Australia's biodiversity and the urgent need for a major injection of funding to combat the threats that continue to be faced.
"Listings are about recognising reality and what matters now is how the Government responds to these alarming trends. We need serious conservation investment to turn trajectories around and strengthened environment laws to ensure pointless and damaging delays can't happen again,” Mr Quartermain concluded.
HSI supports the establishment of a $1 billion fund to protect Threatened Ecological Communities and species on private land through a trust administered by the Department of Environment, a recommendation contained in Dr Wendy Craik's report on the review on the interaction between the agricultural sector and the EPBC Act released yesterday.
Image: Rick and Susanne Ulyatt - Wildlife Mountain
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