Thursday, 7 September 2017
National Threatened Species Day
I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 470 standing in my name for today, relating to National Threatened Species Day.
I move the motion as amended:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) National Threatened Species Day is marked today, 7 September 2017, the anniversary of the day that the last Thylacine (or Tasmanian Tiger) went extinct in 1936 in a Hobart zoo,
(ii) in Australia, we have one of the world's worst extinction rates for our native mammals, with 29 species going extinct since European settlement and that number representing a third of all global mammalian extinctions in the last 600 years,
(iii) 20 per cent of Australia's remaining mammal species are classified as threatened, including iconic species like koalas, wombats, bilbies and Tasmanian devils,
(iv) globally, we are living through what scientists are calling the Holocene extinction, which is the sixth greatest extinction event since life began on earth and is being caused by human activity, and
(v) there is good work being done in our community to save our native wildlife, but that more needs to be done by our governments to address the biodiversity crisis, including by tackling threatening processes, including land clearing, logging and pest animal and plant species; and
(b) calls on the Government to take decisive action to properly fund and support biodiversity research and conservation, and stop the trajectory of animal and plant extinctions in Australia.
The government recognises National Threatened Species Day and notes the government appointed Australia's first ever Threatened Species Commissioner; introduced Australia's first Threatened Species Strategy, which targets 20 priority birds, 20 priority mammals and 30 priority plants; launched the first ever Threatened Species Prospectus; and has mobilised over $228 million for more than 1,000 projects that are supporting species conservation. Today the Minister for the Environment and Energy announced 19 more projects under the $5 million Threatened Species Recovery Fund.
I will be supporting Senator Rice and National Threatened Species Day. But I would say it's rather ironic, having been in Northern Queensland last week, that we're doing National Threatened Species Day when you've got sea turtles and dugongs being slaughtered under the Native Title Act by people who are abusing it. You're also seeing styrofoam boxes of not chicken meat but turtle meat and dugong meat coming in from the Torres Strait Islands into the carousels at Cairns Airport and being sold for $80 a kilo for turtle meat and $130 a kilo of dugong meat. It's a national disgrace.