Wednesday, 3 February 2010
Boobook Declaration and Biodiversity Protection
I, and also on behalf of Senator Siewert, move:
- That the Senate—
- recognises 2010 as the United Nations’ International Year of Biodiversity;
- supports the Boobook Declaration, which has been written by an alliance of 40 environment groups to highlight Australia’s worsening biodiversity crisis; and
- notes the Boobook Declaration’s call on the Australian Government to:
- ‘(1) Acknowledge the critical importance of safeguarding biodiversity as part of Australia’s climate change response and commit to correspondingly urgent action to address the systemic drivers of biodiversity loss…
- (2) …increase investment in biodiversity and ecosystem protection, restoration and management to at least $9 billion over the three years to 2012 and establish an independent … consultative process into future funding and stewardship of Australia’s, [sic] terrestrial, aquatic and marine biodiversity;
- (3) Restore and increase … publicly funded research [capacity, especially in biodiversity conservation] …; and
- (4) Develop … education and training programs .. [for] all sectors of the … community [including on the importance and protection of biodiversity]’.
I shall not need that. The government does not support this motion as it already has in place a range of policies and programs to protect and conserve biodiversity. I thank the Senate.
You will note that the minister just said that the government has in place a range of programs. But they do not protect biodiversity in this country. Let me cite, for example, the swift parrot, which is down to 1,000 breeding pairs. The numbers have fallen since 2003. The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, who is obliged to have a management plan for the recovery of the fastest parrot on earth, which is currently finishing its breeding season in Tasmania, has done nothing at all about upgrading the 2006 program and has, in fact, been party to defunding programs which were to assess and help the recovery of the swift parrot.
If you look at a whole range of species which are threatened, listed or otherwise, from the koala to the bettong to the giant Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle, there has been a failure by the government to adequately protect the habitat of these iconic Australian creatures—and this is the year of biodiversity protection.
Opposition senators interjecting—
I notice the coalition interjecting in defence of Peter Garrett. They can do that, but I am here on behalf of the Australian Greens to defend Australia’s magnificent biodiversity and to call on this government not only to do its job but to uphold the law, the Protection of Biodiversity Conservation Act, not just in spirit but in action. That is something that this Rudd government has manifestly failed to do.
That the motion (Senator Bob Brown’s) be agreed to.