5 June 2016
BOTH MAJOR PARTIES NEED TO STEP UP TO PREVENT EXTINCTIONS
WWF-Australia has welcomed today’s announcement from Environment Minister Greg Hunt of $5 million to protect a number of threatened animal and plant species in Australia as an initial step towards what is needed.
The funding for a number of specific projects is a good acknowledgement of the great work of local groups on the front line of saving species.
However, the $5 million is a drop in the ocean, and only around 1% of the funds needed to start to turn around Australia’s extinction crisis.
In this election campaign, neither the Government nor Opposition have yet committed to an adequate funding package for Australia’s threatened species. Today, Australian Greens Leader Dr Richard di Natale announced a policy commitment for a $2 billion biodiversity fund and a $130 million threatened plan, which is at the scale of funding needed to fundamentally tackle Australia’s extinction crisis.
WWF-Australia’s Head of Species Conservation Darren Grover said state and federal governments must set politics aside and act fast to turn the situation around.
“Australia’s species extinction crisis is not something that occurred hundreds of years ago, it’s happening right now.
“Australia officially has the worst rate of mammal extinction in the world,” said Mr Grover.
“Unless the next Australian Government commits significant amounts of funding towards protecting Australia’s threatened species, we can expect to see more native critters go extinct on our watch.”
In the lead up to the federal election, WWF is calling on all political parties to dedicate more funding to the implementation of the country’s Threatened Species Strategy which aims to reverse Australia’s species decline.
“This requires $100 million a year over the next five years as a minimum to lock in improved trajectories for the 20 bird and 20 mammal species identified as in need of critical action within the Threatened Species Strategy,”
“However delivering large-scale threatened species and threatened ecological community recovery, and reducing feral and invasive animal populations long-term will take far more than that,” said Mr Grover.
“Australia promised the world that by 2020, the extinction of the country’s threatened species would be prevented and their conservation status, particularly of those most in decline, would be improved and sustained.
“We are obviously not on track to achieve this goal. A dramatic change in funding for the country’s Threatened Species Strategy is needed as part of the upcoming election if we are to safeguard our unique wildlife into the future.”
WWF-Australia Media Contact: Daniel Rockett, National Media Manager, 0432 206 592, email@example.com