15th February 2012

D-Day Minus Two

I am hearing from journalists that Minister Burke may delay his decision on the koala listing which is due this Friday 17th February. They say it is because they have too many submissions to read from the Senate Inquiry and need more time.

I am afraid I cannot support the logic behind this. All these submissions have been condensed into a 200 page report which clearly shows that the koala is in trouble.  You then have to ask why the Minister may want to delay.  

For those that watched Yes Minister, an hilarious TV show from the 1970s you may “enjoy” reading a segment of evidence from the Senate Inquiry in Canberra starting page 48. This is where the Queensland Government basically said “please sirs, do not allow anything to change because it might upset the developers”.

It is also coincidental perhaps that there is a Queensland Government election coming up on March 24th. At least 6 critical electoral seats are at risk if voters in these areas do not believe that the Queensland Government has stemmed the tide of the declines.

Interestingly the Queensland Environment Minister did actually go on record recently to say that all the initiatives of her Government had stemmed the tide of the declines to only 13%. When our scientists reviewed that document we found a grave error as we think the declines are nearly 40%. 

There are also scientists saying that the EPBC Act is inadequate (we agree) and that a listing would do nothing (we don’t agree) and that we need a new piece of legislation to protect the koala (we agree to that and the AKF has been calling for this for years).   However pyrrhic this victory might be, the Minister, must list the koala under the EPBC Act – it will take years before a Koala Act could come into force.

Write to him: [email protected]