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. Read more »

Animal Welfare Review Exposes Deficits say Greens

The review into the investment in and administration of the Animal Welfare Act 2002 reveals there is much to be done to improve animal welfare outcomes in WA say the Greens. We are pleased the report acknowledges the need for a long overdue wholesale review since the Animal Welfare Act was first introduced over a decade ago.

“The Greens acknowledge the Government’s support for the recommendations of the review is a necessary first step in improving the welfare of companion animals and pets, our precious and unique native wildlife and the many millions of production animals in WA,” said Lynn MacLaren MLC, Greens spokesperson for Animals. Read more »

Biodiversity Bill long overdue and much-needed: Greens

The Greens congratulate Minister Jacob for a new act for biodiversity and conservation on the precipice of what is shaping up to be one of Western Australia’s most fierce environmental campaigns to save the Beeliar wetlands.

"A Bill to replace WA’s outdated Wildlife Conservation Act is a welcome step although given the time lag since the draft legislation was first proposed it will warrant careful public scrutiny,” Greens Biodiversity Spokesperson Lynn MacLaren MLC says.

“It has been 14 years since the former Labor Government came to power promising an overhaul of WA wildlife conservation laws and we have had successive Labor and Liberal governments since then promise to introduce new biodiversity legislation without managing to do so,” Ms MacLaren said.

“The Minister therefore deserves congratulations for getting this Bill this far.

“More incentives to protect and conserve the environment are welcome as are increased penalties as deterrents for offences against wildlife but unlike the Federal EPBC Act, this Bill stops short of jail terms, which means some offenders may be prepared to take the risk. Read more »

Premier contradictory over Cottesloe shark proof enclosure omission

Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren says the Premier's lack of interest in funding a shark-proof enclosure at Cottesloe Beach is inconsistent with the way he singled out Cottesloe Beach as requiring protection from shark hazards last year when he was promoting drum lines.

"The popularity of Cottesloe Beach was specifically cited by the Premier in his application last year for Federal environmental approval to run a three-year drum line program," Ms MacLaren said.

"The Premier, whose Department wrote the application, mounted a spurious argument about WA's tourism industry under threat by sharks, including at Cottesloe, to claim the drum lines were 'in the national interest'.

"So his latest comments that Cottesloe 'doesn't necessarily need' an effective shark hazard protection tool such as a shark-proof enclosure are contradictory, to say the least. Read more »

Live Animal Export Industry reaches a new low

This week’s announcement to expand live exports by Federal Minister, the Hon Barnaby Joyce has taken the live animal export industry to a new low, Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren says.

“Live exporters are now shipping Australian cattle to China; a country without animal cruelty laws with a bad track record for treatment of animals," Ms MacLaren said.

“Although the establishment of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) is a requirement for any country we export animals to, evidence has shown this provides no guarantees or assurances that animal welfare will be upheld.

“Time and time again investigations carried out by Animals Australia have clearly shown that ESCAS is notoriously useless in protecting Australian animals from the barbaric handling and slaughter practices of some of our trading partners. Read more »

Government leaves $2.5 million white elephant in the ocean

Now that the State Government has finally admitted today that no more sharks will be tagged as part of the Government's much-vaunted shark tagging and tracking program the Greens say a $2.5 million public asset will be left to weather in the ocean.

Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren said, "The Department of Fisheries' long-term shark tagging and tracking program was one of the few aspects of the Government's shark hazard policy last year that made sense"

"But now it seems that having spent $2.5 million establishing this acoustic receiver system that it calls 'world-class' and 'cutting edge' on its SharkSmart website, the Government now plans to walk away from doing any further research, other than publishing data already collected.

"The term 'white elephant' comes to mind when I think of those expensive receivers left in the ocean without anyone to maintain them.

"This decision means we are getting nothing like the benefits we should be getting from investment in a $2.5 million public asset. Read more »

Greens condemn cuts to “world class” shark research

Planned cuts to WA's “world-class” shark tagging, tracking and research program, hidden in the detail of the State Budget, have confirmed the depth of the Barnett Government’s contempt for science on large sharks, Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren says.

 “In slashing staffing and funding for ongoing research using its Shark Monitoring Network, the Barnett Government has removed any remaining vestiges of credibility to the claim that it is interested in a scientific assessment of the population of white sharks off south-western Australia,” Ms MacLaren said. 

“This decision removes any scope for this Government to claim in the future that it has evidence that white shark numbers have recovered sufficiently to allow them to be killed. Read more »

Recreational hunting on public land gets shot down

Lynn MacLaren, Greens MLC has welcomed the State Government’s announcement today, rejecting the recommendation for a recreational hunting trial in WA.

“I’m delighted that the Government has publically stated its lack of support for recreational hunting in national parks and conservation reserves and announced its decision against conducting a two-year trial,” Ms MacLaren said.

“The Greens have always completely opposed recreational hunting as a method of pest control and for good reason: not only is it ineffective, but it can cause tremendous suffering for animals. Read more »

National ‘free range’ eggs standard in Ministers hands today

“On the heels of findings from the consumer advocacy group Choice, State Ministers will today consider adoption of a national standard for “free range” eggs,” said Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren.

“Choice demonstrated on Wednesday that many consumers are being duped by false labelling and highlighted the urgent need for legislation for the labelling of free range eggs,” Ms MacLaren said.

“It is shocking that only around 25 per cent of ‘free range’ producers interviewed actually comply with the code of practice for stocking density. 

“Consumers assume all free range laying hens have space to move with access to the outdoors, with shaded areas and shelter from rain.

“Consumers can pay up to twice the cost of caged eggs to purchase a more ethical product, is it too much to ask that they get what they paid for?   Read more »

State’s environmental agencies fail native fauna over Wheatbelt waste tip

Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren has blasted the Department of Environmental Regulation for failing to advise local governments in the Wheatbelt that a regional waste tip they proposed to build near threatened native fauna populations, including the State emblem, the numbat, was a concern under the Department’s landfill guidelines.

““The Department of Environmental Regulation has been formally advising the Wagin Voluntary Group of Councils since on this proposed putrescible regional waste facility site since at least February 2014,”  Ms MacLaren said. Read more »