Federal Environment Minister needs to keep on the right track for protection of native forests and species

Federal Environment Minister needs to keep on the right track for protection of native forests and species

The Colong Foundation for Wilderness welcomes comments made by Sussan Ley, Minister for the Environment on ABC Radio National regarding plans to ensure the recovery of wildlife and habitat following the bushfire crisis.

“It is crucial that the minister ensure that she does, as promised, listen to the scientific and expert consensus regarding the ecological impacts of these fires. Filtering out and discarding misinformation regarding the effectiveness of other land management techniques such as ecological thinning or opening up National Parks for logging is essential for species recovery.

“With such a huge amount of fire in Australia’s landscape, it is essential that the federal government prioritise surveys collecting of information regarding the impact these fires have on species. As Ley rightfully pointed out, it essential that the Government “identify which [species] might be more threatened or [need to be] moved up the spectrum” so informed decisions regarding projects that destroy habitat can be made.

“Projects like the raising of Warragamba Dam wall and native forest logging should have an immediate moratorium placed upon them, given the unprecedented level of burning throughout the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area (over 85%) and NSW. Sadly, these fires will undoubtedly see major changes made to the Threatened Species Registry, with a whole host of species added or having their status upgraded. For the dam raising, the EIS completed date for this project is no longer applicable, due to these likely changes.”

“If Ley’s office and the Government is serious about “genuine habitat restoration”, comprehensive recovery plans that are informed by current surveys of the destruction inflicted by these fires must be implemented. Until that time, projects with significant environmental impact covered by the EPBC act like dam raising/building and logging must be halted to ensure that our wildlife and ecosystems have the best chance of recovery.