House debates

Monday, 11 September 2023


Environmental Conservation

7:34 pm

Photo of Steve GeorganasSteve Georganas (Adelaide, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Recently I became the proud sponsor of the southern brown bandicoot. This all came about from a meeting in my electorate office with the dedicated team from the Australian Conservation Foundation in Adelaide. They included Andrea Rankin, Sharon Hetzel, Anthony Brown, Jenny Cunningham and Richard Bentley. Their commitment to preserving our biodiversity aligns with my own passion for the preservation of our world. It's great to have a picture of the southern brown bandicoot, a national gem, sitting on my desk. It serves as a reminder and a symbol. I look at the southern brown bandicoot and I'm reminded that many other native animals are on the edge of extinction. It reminds me of all my constituents in Adelaide who have raised their voices calling for action and calling for leadership. They are asking for strong environmental laws and accountability, and they are calling on us in this place, as their members, to be responsive and responsible. Unlike the previous government, on this side we listen.

So, on behalf of my constituents in Adelaide, I say: zero new extinctions under the watch of our government. That is something the Albanese government will hold themselves accountable for, because our animals, our nature and our world deserve better, and so do our constituents. After years of neglect, our government is taking bold steps to protect our native plants and animals. When we demolish forests, it's not just trees that suffer; the impacts flow through wetlands, reefs, mammals, birds and insects. It's a chain reaction of destruction, and the responsibility rests on all of us.

We are the world's mammal extinction capital. To overcome this, the Labor government is investing $224.5 million in our Saving Native Species program. This funding supports habitat restoration and the eradication of invasive pests like yellow crazy ants and gamba grass. We've also launched the Threatened Species Action Plan for the next decade, and we are investing $200 million in programs to clean up urban rivers and waterways, which are home to nearly 50 per cent of our threatened animals and 25 per cent of threatened plants. We're not stopping there. We aim to protect 30 per cent of Australia's land and oceans by 2030, preserving vital habitats for our threatened species.

Underlying all these efforts is the Nature Positive Plan. We are strengthening environmental laws. We invested $121 million in the recent budget to establish Environment Protection Australia, to help restore trust to a system that badly needs it. This is the new environment protection agency, with powers to decide whether or not developments proceed and to enforce laws designed to protect and restore nature. In addition, we are launching the groundbreaking Nature Repair Market, to empower landholders. The Minister for the Environment and Water has delivered a historic deal for the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in full, including 450 gigalitres of water for the environment. I was proud to be part of that announcement at the River Torrens, in my electorate of Adelaide.

We are serious about protecting the homes of our endangered species, and we have a determined minister, a determined government, leading the way. Together we must shape a tomorrow where life not only survives but thrives. The southern brown bandicoot embodies not just our commitment but our collective resolve to ensure that life in all its forms thrives for generations to come. I encourage everyone in this House to become a proud sponsor of the southern brown bandicoot and everything it stands for.