March 17 - 23, 2019: Issue 397
They Will Definitely Be Missed: Australia’s Faunal Extinction Crisis Inquiry
NSW Greens MP, Dawn Walker at Gibberagee State Forest - photo supplied.
Repeated failures to act on recovery plans, Failure to Save Habitat, Culling Permits Issued 'Over the Phone' and Forestry Industry Exemptions from EPBC Act are driving Australia's Faunal Extinction Crisis according to many who have made a submission to the Senate's inquiry.
In Kelso, a land owner in recent years shot dozens and dozens of wombats even though there was no crop or livestock on the land (Police were contacted by locals after shots were heard at night and deceased wombats were seen on the property).
Governments have very little control over how many wombats are actually being shot, and the conditions are too lax i.e. there are often no inspections to see if there was a legitimate need for a cull permit, and the land manager, as in the case above, was warned that authorities were on their way, so was able to hide all evidence prior to the inspection. Each permit issued seems to be open ended, with up to 50 wombats able to be culled, no time restrictions and no apparent follow up to count carcasses (this is based on anecdotal reports).
- There has been no critical habitat declared in Queensland
- Policies are missing in key areas of species protection, including stopping species from reaching threatened status, prioritisation of threatened species, investment in endangered wildlife, and recovery planning and implementation
- There is a lack of coordination between departments, state and federal governments on threatened species activities
- Of the 955 threatened species listed under Queensland’s Nature Conservation Act, only 55 have recovery plans – most of them are done federally under the EPBC Act. All but 12 of these – about 1% – are out of date
- Recovery plan implementation isn’t resourced by the department, relies on support from the community, and is not evaluated unless by external scientists or recovery teams
- There is inadequate financing and staffing for threatened species work
- Measures to track progress in recovering endangered plants and animals are not in place for most species
- There is no evidence-based framework in Queensland to prioritise species for conservation
Stronger protection for threatened species
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.