Speech given in the Senate on 6 September 2022.
Invasive species are wreaking havoc on Australia's ecosystems and threatening our biodiversity. There are huge costs not only to our biodiversity but to our farmers and our economy, costing at least $25 billion a year. We have let the destructive influence of invasive species into our country and now we are dealing with the costs. Invasives are threatening 1,267 Australian native plants and animals, and 82 per cent of all of our threatened species are being pushed towards extinction by invasive species. Australian mammals now represent more than a third of all mammals that have become extinct across the globe since the year 1500. The recent State of the environment report was clear: invasive species are putting pressure on Australia's biodiversity, and these pressures look set to continue and increase in the future.
We need to act swiftly if we are to halt this decline. In the ACT, action groups are working hard against ongoing extinctions. Members of my community have raised concerns about the development of grassy woodlands at north Lawson in the ACT and the impact it could have on endangered threatened species such as the golden sun moth. It is important to protect habitat where it still exists, and submissions for consideration under the EPBC Act close tomorrow. I look forward to helping ensure that our new environmental laws actually address the concerns of everyday Australians about the way that we are protecting and looking after our natural heritage.