On World Environment Day today, the Greens launched their $2.1 billion national election policy to protect native wildlife, which would help bring threatened species such as bilbies and koalas back from the brink of extinction in Queensland.
Qld Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens Deputy Leader, said the Greens plan would commit $2 billion over 6 years to re-establish and double funding for the national Biodiversity Fund, which was abolished under Abbott/Turnbull Government after Labor halved its funding while in government.
“We’re calling on the old parties to right their past wrongs that saw the Biodiversity Fund slashed, exacerbating the extinction crisis our native wildlife is facing.
“Iconic species like our precious koalas are facing “imminent” extinction in parts of South-East Queensland like the Koala Coast and Pine Rivers, with losses of 80% to 50% of the population.
“The Greater Bilby has disappeared from 80% of its former habitat due to invasive species and habitat loss, and is hanging on by a thread in Queensland.
“We’re calling on Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten to commit today, on World Environment Day, to match the Greens’ $2 billion commitment to restore and double the Biodiversity Fund, which provided incentives for landholders to protect native wildlife habitat.
“For all too many of our native species, we lack important information about their critical habitat and we don’t have properly funded recovery plans in place to ensure their survival.
“We Greens would invest $130 million over four years to identify and protect important habitat and to fund threatened species management and research.
“Our plan would see the federal government step in to protect that critical habitat via properly funded bioregional plans which include clear ‘no-go zones’ for development and mining.
“We would also investigate options to support private landholders who can play a crucial role in protecting the last remaining sections of certain habitats like coastal rainforests or inland grassy box woodland which are nowadays found mostly on private land.
“Our native wildlife is under more pressure than ever before, due to global warming and damaging developments, including coal and gas mines, which also threaten agriculture.
“We Greens will always stand up for native species, which are so much a part of our national identity and draw visitors from all over the world to delight in our unique natural beauty,” Senator Waters said.
Read the native wildlife plan: http://greens.org.au/wildlife
• More than 20% of our remaining 386 mammal species are threatened with extinction, including bilbies, koalas and wallabies in Queensland.
• Australia has one of the worst mammal extinction rates in the world, with 1 out of 3 mammal extinctions globally in the last 400 years occurring in Australia