Barnett Government upstaged by Federal Government on protection of biodiversity

WoylieGreens biodivesity spokesperson Lynn MacLaren MLC says the Barnett Government should feel embarrassed by the Federal Enviroment Minister's move to protect WA's rare threatened species which are being pushed to the brink of extinction while it stands by.

"Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has done the right thing adding three WA species including the woylie, Gilbert’s potoroo and western ringtail possum to the Federal threatened species list because we have grave fears for these animals’ populations due to multiple threats including a drying climate, forest fires, habitat loss, and predation by feral species including foxes and cats,” Ms MacLaren said.

 “However, today’s announcement raises a question about why State biodiversity legislation lists the western ringtail possum as ‘endangered’ when scientific evidence supports listing it as critically endangered, which would warrant it more protection.

 “The Greens are extremely concerned that funding for the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) has been repeatedly cut by this Government.

 “DPaW will lose around 100 full-time employees this year from last year’s total of 1,600.

 “The biggest cuts have been made to the agency’s conservation work, with 30 full-time jobs to go from its Science and Conservation Division and another 27 lost from its Conservation Partnerships programs with Aboriginal people, industry and community groups.

 “We are now seeing essential research and conservation work for species such as Gilbert’s potoroo and WA’s mammalian emblem the numbat dependent on public donations.

 “The Federal Threatened Species Commissioner visited WA last year and took a strong interest in our threatened, endemic species.

 “Successive governments have allowed populations of our most threatened animals to all but disappear in the wild.

 “The introduction of a bill to update wildlife conservation laws in Parliament late last year was a step in the right direction by the WA Environment Minister, however the Bill will achieve little if the Barnett Government doesn’t fund research and conservation programs for these animals found nowhere else in the world.”