Australia's Faunal Crisis

Hello Koala Lovers,

Those of you who remember the Senate Inquiry of 2011 and the subsequent listing of the Koala in April 2012 (under the EPBC Act), will, I think be shocked that there is now another Senate Inquiry into the inadequacy of the EPBC Act to protect vulnerable and endangered species.

The AKF will be lodging a submission and will make the point that if the Koala – the iconic species that is essential to the Australian bush as well as to the Australian economy, does not get the attention our federal laws demand, then what hope do the little creatures great and small have that suffer with loss of vegetation on a daily basis. And not to mention the flora that is just decimated by our friends in industry. 

In 2011, that Inquiry received 101 submissions and I am hoping that many of you will re-submit those documents as well as your comments on the failure of our Federal Government to enact a Koala Recovery Plan promised for December of 2014.

I remember having great hope that a Koala Recovery Plan under the direction of the Federal Government could and should make a huge difference to not only the Koala, but to their habitats, but my hope was in vain.

Imagine
numbers

At that time, it was acknowledged (after endless submissions) that the States of Australia were incapable of protecting the Koala and was the reason why it finally ended in a federal listing.

What we have seen since is industry lobbying strongly to reverse those decisions and the current Environment Minister, Mr. Josh Frydenberg appears to have sent the control of protection of the forests back to the States of Queensland and New South Wales.    

It is just shocking really that the Koala (and our laws) can be used as a political football and of course the Victorian Government did not even get a listing – industry and obfuscation of Koala numbers allowed them to be “off the hook” so to speak.

Of course, the AKF will argue that Australia needs a Koala Protection Act. The terms of reference for this new Inquiry are as follows. (Australia’s faunal extinction crisis)

  • the ongoing decline in the population and conservation status of Australia's nearly 500 threatened fauna species;
  • the wider ecological impact of faunal extinction;
  • the international and domestic obligations of the Commonwealth Government in conserving threatened fauna;
  • the adequacy of Commonwealth environment laws, including but not limited to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, in providing sufficient protections for threatened fauna and against key threatening processes;
  • the adequacy and effectiveness of protections for critical habitat for threatened fauna under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999;
  • the adequacy of the management and extent of the National Reserve System, stewardship arrangements, covenants and connectivity through wildlife corridors in conserving threatened fauna;
  • the use of traditional knowledge and management for threatened species recovery and other outcomes as well as opportunities to expand the use of traditional knowledge and management for conservation;
  • the adequacy of existing funding streams for implementing threatened species recovery plans and preventing threatened fauna loss in general;
  • the adequacy of existing monitoring practices in relation to the threatened fauna assessment and adaptive management responses;
  • the adequacy of existing assessment processes for identifying threatened fauna conservation status;
  • the adequacy of existing compliance mechanisms for enforcing Commonwealth environment law; and
  • any related matters.

And submissions must be in by 13 August.

I note too that the report is due early in December – this will be a short turn around and I imagine there will be hearings in either Canberra or elsewhere in Australia.

If you would like to be informed of the progress of this committee, email [email protected] and we can keep you up to date.

Who would have thought it is so hard to protect Koala habitat? As I have said before, the Koala has powerful enemies and they are so powerful they can stop our leaders enforcing the laws of our beautiful land.

Over the next few weeks, I am going bush to meet with landholders. They too are frustrated about the laws that govern their activities. I will look forward to learning more about what is happening in the bush with lack of rain, infrastructure projects that continue to destroy the landscape and worse still, destroy farming and food production areas of Australia.

I have posed a question on our Facebook. How much of Australia is designated as arable land? I think you will be shocked about that and in a country that constantly talks about food security for the future – I do wonder whether we really know how little there is available for food.

As always thank you for your support.

Deborah

P.s. Don't forget, you can help us celebrate and save the Koala during Save the Koala Month in September!