The Nature Conservation Council of NSW says Australian governments must do more to conserve ecosystems and habitat following a global biodiversity report warning of an acute extinction risk for Australia’s animals and plant species.
“Australia faces a biodiversity crisis. We have one of the worst species extinction rates on the planet and projections indicate we may lose up to one in five of our mammal species alone,” Cate Faehrmann, executive director of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW said today.
“At least 79 species of plants and animals have become extinct in NSW in the past 200 years and most of these extinctions can be linked to human activity such as habitat loss, intervention in natural ecosystem balances including culling or introducing exotic species or polluting habitats. The effects of climate change also pose substantial new threats to our plants and animals.
“The NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change acknowledges there are more than 850 animal and plant species at risk of extinction in the state, yet key threatening processes affecting their survival are allowed to continue.
“Every week we see development applications that are seeking approval to clear habitat for threatened species. And almost every week the State Government approves the destruction of threatened species habitat.
“For example, planning ‘reforms’ announced earlier this year reframed biodiversity as an obstacle to be removed, rather than a fundamental planning consideration. Protecting threatened species and biodiversity have become a secondary consideration for a State Government keen for quick, but not necessarily sustainable, development decisions.
“The Government also sends mixed messages by listing species such as the Murray Cod as threatened but allowing them to be caught in NSW waters.
“We urge the new NSW Premier to commit to ensuring threatened species and their habitats are protected,” Ms Faehrmann said.