Australia failing to meet international biodiversity obligations

Australian environment groups have petitioned the UN Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity concerning the Australian government’s failure to act consistently with its international obligations.

The groups include the Australian Conservation Foundation, Green Institute, WAFA and Lawyers for Forests and the Petition includes submissions by leading scientists including Professor David Lindenmayer.

“Australia ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1993 and has an international obligation to protect the biodiversity of Australian ecosystems. The Federal Government is failing to act consistently with these obligations, putting some of our most precious places, and wildlife, in serious jeopardy,” said WAFA convener Jess Beckerling.

“We are on a slippery slope. Native forest logging is already exempt from the Federal legislation meant to regulate matters of national environmental significance. This means that even when logging directly threatens the survival of an endangered species, there is no Federal environmental regulation of that logging.

 “Add that to that the fact that the State is exempt from the fauna provisions of the WA Wildlife Conservation Act (1950) and there is no law to protect threatened wildlife from clearfelling operations.

“The Action Plan for Australian Mammals, released today, shows that one Australian mammal goes extinct every decade. The Federal Government is failing to protect the biodiversity of Australian ecosystems.

“Now the Federal Government wants to remove Federal regulation from other damaging industries, making Australia’s environmental legislation even weaker.

“That is unacceptable. It is at odds with the Convention of Biological Diversity Australia has ratified and the Federal Government is proposing to make the situation worse.

“Why should the clearfelling of ancient ecosystems have a free pass from the regulatory process?

“The States and Territories are often too close to the financial benefits of environmentally destructive projects to do the right thing for the long term,” said Ms Beckerling, “the Franklin Dam case is a good example of why we need better Federal environmental regulation and strict enforcement.

“Australia needs better legislation for the protection of wildlife and the places we love, not weaker legislation that makes it easier for short-term profit-making interests to avoid doing what’s right,” said Ms Beckerling.

CONTACT: Jess Beckerling
0488 777 592