World Wildlife Day cause for concern

03 March 2020

It’s World Wildlife Day today and in 2020 Australia’s wildlife is confronting unprecedented challenges.   

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 3 March to recognise the signing of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973 – as UN World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.

We celebrate that we live in a country that is one of seventeen countries described as megadiverse. Together, these countries support more than 70 per cent of biological diversity on Earth.

But our biodiversity is under threat. Australia is facing an extinction crisis, compounded by the recent national bushfire crisis.

And the Government has been slow to act, and has failed to meet their legal obligations when it comes to responding to threats by developing and implementing recovery plans.

Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, more than 50 species of Australian animals have been listed as extinct, including 27 mammal species, 23 bird species, and 4 frog species.

Bombshell revelations in Senate Estimates yesterday revealed that the Morrison Government has used their cornerstone environmental policy, the Environment Restoration Fund, as a dodgy slush fund for re-election.
Shadow Minister for the Environment and Water Terri Butler said that the Morrison Government has never seen a fund they didn’t want to rort.
“The Morrison Government throws public money around like it’s dodgy Coalition election confetti. It’s an absolute disgrace,” Ms Butler said.
The Government’s woeful record includes cutting environment department funding by almost 40 per cent, fewer than 40 per cent of threatened species having recovery plans and Australians having to wait vast amounts of time between announcing funding and actually spending it on urgent environmental projects.
Labor launched a constructive call to action for the Government to address the bushfire ecological crisis, which is estimated to have killed one billion animals and caused devastating habitat loss.
Labor called for a national ecological audit which would mobilise an army of scientists and on-the-ground land management specialists across state borders, in a national effort to tackle the environmental destruction we have seen.
This has not happened.
Australians want a leader, not a salesman who goes missing when things get tough.

The Morrison Government has no plan to protect our national iconic wildlife, no plan for the environment and no plan for the country.