8 Mar 2018
WWF: TREE-PROTECTION BILL “A MAJOR STEP FORWARD”
WWF-Australia said the Queensland Government’s vegetation management bill is a major step forward in the battle to end the state’s tree-clearing crisis.
“The bill will certainly improve protection of bushland and reduce mass deaths of koalas and other wildlife,” said WWF-Australia conservation director Paul Toni.
“The removal of the so-called thinning code is very welcome. This ‘self-assessable’ code has been used to bulldoze thousands of hectares of forest without any protections for wildlife or the wider environment. It is the single major loophole allowing excessive tree-clearing in Queensland."
“WWF sees room to improve the bill and will engage with the parliamentary committee to that end."
“Ultimately, the acid test for the proposed legislation is if it ‘drives down excessive clearing rates’, as the Palaszczuk government committed to do in the lead-up to the 2017 election,” he said.
Following the former Newman government’s weakening of environmental protections in 2012-13, more than one million hectares of bushland have been bulldozed in four years.
WWF-Australia estimates this destruction killed more than 5,000 koalas between mid-2012 and mid-2016.
Scientists have repeatedly warned that koalas could become extinct in Queensland unless habitat destruction stops.
WWF’s “KIMBY” petition mobilised more than 63,000 people concerned over the impacts of excessive tree clearing on wildlife.
They sent a virtual origami koala, called a KIMBY, and a personal message to key Queensland politicians to let them know they want to see Koalas In My Backyard.
WWF-Australia and RSPCA Queensland, in a joint report, revealed the suffering and death of wildlife when habitat is destroyed and concluded that tree-clearing is the single greatest animal welfare crisis in Queensland.
Scientists estimate that bushland destruction in 2015-16 killed 45 million animals (1.1 million mammals, 3.7 million birds and 39.9 million reptiles).