Scott Morrison is sweeping the extinction crisis under the COVID-19 carpet

By Terri Butler MP and Josh Wilson MP

08 September 2020

Scott Morrison is trying to sweep his failure to protect Australia’s native fauna and flora under the COVID-19 carpet.
The Morrison Government used National Threatened Species day yesterday to announce that it will bury its failed five-year threatened species strategy under the cover of a new ten-year strategy with no additional funding and no commitment to reform.

Australian’s environment is in decline, national icons like the koala have died in record numbers, environment protection spending has been gutted by 40%, and the Morrison Government has little idea what has happened to our threatened species.
It’s an absolute disgrace and appears the Morrison Government is using COVID-19 as a cover to ensure less scrutiny of its dismal failures.
Australia was experiencing an extinction crisis before an estimated three billion animals were killed or displaced from last summer’s bushfires.
The decisions we take now, will impact Australia’s national icons, our less charismatic species and our biodiversity for generations to come.
Labor doesn’t want a future where our children are reading about the koala in the history books.
The Morrison Government has failed to implement recovery plans for threatened species, with estimates that fewer than 40% have a national recovery plan, and the government is clueless about whether existing plans are being implemented.
There are also more than 100 Australian mammal species listed as threatened or vulnerable, but there is still not enough data to know whether their populations are declining. The Threatened Mammal Index reveals that more than a third of Australian mammals have been lost over a 20 year period.
Instead of taking responsibility for this failure, Mr Morrison’s Government is making yet another threatened species announcement without a serious plan. Cuts, mismanagement and cluelessness by this government have left Australia ill-equipped to preserve and protect our beloved national icons.
Given the Morrison Government’s own Threatened Species Strategy (TSS) is badly off track, with 16 of 20 target mammal species showing further decline or no improvement, how can Australian’s trust this new “strategy” will be any different?
Only last week the Morrison Government chose to cite COVID-19 as an excuse to gag debate and smash through the House a rehash of Tony Abbott’s failed 2014 environment bill.
This bill is contrary to the process in their own independent review, would harm Australia’s natural environment, and puts jobs and investment at risk.