Australia’s biodiversity strategy a ‘global embarrassment’

Australia’s premier alliance of conservation organisations has called the Federal Government’s new biodiversity strategy a weak and disappointing document which will do nothing to address concerns about reduction in biodiversity.

The Government released a draft ‘Australia’s Strategy for Nature 2018-2030’ document just before Christmas. The 17 page report is intended to replace the much more detailed 102-page ‘Australia’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2010–2030’ report, released in October 2010.

The Places You Love alliance has criticised the new report as “deeply inadequate and failing to address Australia’s crisis of dying wildlife and environmental destruction. The new national plan is weak to the point of being a global embarrassment and shirks Australia’s international obligations to halt the alarming loss of biodiversity.”

The alliance represents Australia’s largest conservation groups, including the World Wildlike Fund (WWF), The Wilderness Society. The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), Greenpeace, and the Humane Society International (HSI).

The 2010 strategy outlined ten national targets for conserving Australia’s vital and unique biodiversity. Analysis by HIS found that just one of these targets had been met, describing the lack of progress as: “disappointing to a point where both the targets and the processes for implementing them require major review.”

The Places You Love alliance says the new strategy contains no measurable targets, no new funding, nor any other concrete commitments to save Australia’s precious natural world.

“The draft strategy paints a distressing picture of disinterest,” said WWF’s Dr Martin Taylor. “It is completely lacking in substance and offers little to arrest the severe declines of Australian wildlife.

“This strategy comes off the back of the government’s refusal to effectively enforce national laws to stop bulldozing of threatened species habitats, cuts to renewable energy, a failure to reduce carbon emissions, and attacks on the advocacy rights of charities.”

HIS Australia’s Evan Quartermain echoed his criticisms. “Australia’s wildlife deserves better than this. Instead of addressing our failure to meet the previous strategy’s goals, the Government has served up simplistic and unmeasurable dot points that are an embarrassment on the global stage and fall far short of the international commitments to conserve biodiversity we have made at the United Nations.

ACF’s James Trezise said: “Australians love our country’s precious wildlife. We rely on Australia’s biodiversity to provide us with clean air and water. It helps grow our food and enriches our lives with places for recreation and rest. And yet our natural world is under more stress than ever before. It is an indictment that the Turnbull Government’s response is a wafer-thin plan with no measurable targets, no new action, no laws or funding and which reads like a Year 10 school assignment.”

The Places You Love alliance says Australia is among the 194 countries to have adopted international biodiversity rescue targets for this decade under the Convention on Biological Diversity. “But despite a review warning that the Federal Government has yet to implement the Convention targets in national policy with just two years left, the draft strategy still fails to put them in place.

“The new national strategy also fails to address the Turnbull Government’s own 2016 State of the Environment report, which warned that Australia’s biodiversity is under increased threat and has, overall, continued to decline.”

“The Turnbull Government has dropped any semblance of being concerned about Australia’s wildlife and vegetation with this supposed strategy for conservation,´ said The Wilderness Society’s Suzanne Milthorpe.

“The government failed to meet nine out of ten pretty poor targets from the previous conservation strategy, and has dropped targets altogether in this plan so it doesn’t have any targets to meet next time. This lack of any real action will all but guarantee Australia continues to have the worst mammal extinction rate on the planet.”


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