The findings of a report tabled late yesterday into the nation’s threatened species from the Australian National Audit Office compounds a week of deeply concerning developments about the federal government’s approach to environmental management.
The report identified significant shortcomings in the way the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment administered threatened species and ecological communities under the EPBC Act.
It highlighted a “lack of monitoring, reporting and support for the implementation of conservation advice, recovery plans and threat abatement plans” that “the status of threatened species is declining.”
Community-endorsed ACT Independent Senate candidate, David Pocock, said the Auditor-General’s report underscored the need for better safeguards and stronger action not a watering down of already ineffective federal environmental law.
“Australians from all walks of life understand and appreciate that we live on the most incredible, unique continent,” David said.
“Talking to people right across the community there is a long-standing and clear expectation that government ensures our natural environment is looked after for future generations to enjoy.
“We saw in the wake of the bushfires that killed or displaced nearly three billion animals just how much Australians care about our wildlife. But that’s clearly not being reflected in resource allocation, priorities or urgency in government.
“We stand to witness the permanent loss of some of our most iconic species and so many others playing critical roles in our ecosystems.
“We’re already a world-leader in extinction, it’s time to reverse the trend.”
David pointed to Koalas being listed as an endangered species this year as well as the listing of the Gang-gang cockatoo, so beloved here in the bush capital, as a threatened species as two recent examples.
David said the Auditor-General’s report added to the evidence suggesting a rethink of proposed changes to federal environmental law was urgently needed.
He added that it also underscored the value of the Auditor’s General’s work. David has already committed to fighting for the government to restore funding to the Auditor-General and the Australian National Audit Office and ensure they are adequately resourced in the future to continue strong oversight of, and investigations into, how taxpayer money is spent and the efficient functioning of government.