[COUNCIL — Wednesday, 22 May 2013]
Hon Lynn MacLaren; Hon Helen Morton

92. Hon LYNN MacLAREN to the minister representing the Minister for Environment:
(1) As today is the International Day for Biological Diversity, will the minister advise what the state
government is doing to highlight the significance of Western Australia’s biodiversity?
(2) Will the government report on the status of threatened species in Western Australia?
(3) Has the status of Carnaby’s cockatoos or numbats improved or worsened over the past five years?
(4) What action is the government taking to protect threatened species?
(5) Is the minister aware that the state government of Victoria is being sued by the Environment Defenders
Office of Victoria over a failure to draw up plans for the survival of threatened species?
Hon HELEN MORTON replied:
I thank the member for some notice of the question. The following information has been provided to me by the
Minister for Environment —
(1) The government has a strong record in biodiversity conservation for Western Australia. In its first term,
it invested $63 million under the Kimberley science and conservation strategy for a range of
biodiversity conservation initiatives, including fire management, feral animal control and creation of
terrestrial and marine conservation reserves, in addition to initiatives to assist the conservation of
threatened species. In its term of office between 2008 and 2013, the Liberal–National government
created the Walpole and Nornalup Inlets, Camden Sound, Ngari Capes and Eighty Mile Beach Marine
Parks, which conserve biodiversity. In this term of government, it has made commitments to create
Roebuck Bay, Horizontal Falls and North Kimberley marine parks, including an extension of the
Kimberley marine park network to the Western Australian–Northern Territory border. The creation of
new marine parks will almost treble the marine reserve system from approximately 1.5 million hectare
at the time the government first took office in 2008 to more than five million hectares by the end of its
second term. In its first term, the government released a biodiversity and cultural conservation strategy
for the great western woodlands, and invested $3 million for on-ground operations. The government has
announced as a priority that it will replace the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 with a biodiversity
conservation act, and will introduce a bill into Parliament during this term The proposed biodiversity
conservation act will significantly increase penalties for harming threatened species and non-threatened
species, and a provide modern framework for the management and recovery of biodiversity in Western
(2) The Department of Environment and Conservation regularly publishes the conservation status of each
threatened species. There are over 600 listed threatened species, and information on the status of each
one can be found at DEC’s website. Currently, 240 species are listed as threatened fauna, and 18
species listed as fauna presumed to be extinct. There are also 413 threatened flora, and 14 species
presumed extinct.
(3)–(4) The numbat and Carnaby’s cockatoo are specially protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act as
specially protected fauna, with International Union for Conservation of Nature–equivalent status of
vulnerable and endangered respectively. The status of the numbat and Carnaby’s cockatoo has not
changed over the past five years. A Carnaby’s cockatoo recovery plan has recently been approved at the
state level and has been released for public comment as part of the commonwealth process for a
national recovery plan. Since 2008–09, the government has invested more than $9.3 million for the
protection and recovery of WA’s three black cockatoo species, and in particular the recovery of
Carnaby’s cockatoo. The government has also made a commitment to build a predator-proof fence
within the greater dryandra woodland to create a numbat and woylie sanctuary of up to 300 hectares,
and recover numbats and woylies.
(5) The minister is not aware of the Victorian Environment Defenders Office action against the Victorian