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Gutwein Government Must Put Environment First to Avoid Ecosystem Collapse

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Friday, 26 February 2021

Tags: Environment, Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Marine Environment, Climate Change

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Environment spokesperson 

Leading scientists working across Australia and Antarctica have described the collapse of 19 ecosystems from human impact, including Tasmania’s kelp forests and Gondwanan conifer forests. The research – the result of work by 38 scientists from 29 universities and government agencies - warns urgent action is required to prevent complete loss of these systems.

If the existing evidence of the climate and biodiversity emergency wasn’t enough, the Tasmanian findings should jolt the Gutwein Government into action. 

The State Liberal Government is supporting developments that destroy ecosystems, pursuing policies that put environmental impacts last, and punishing people when they stand up and resist this destruction. What it should do is fix environment laws so they protect nature.

The climate is continuing to heat, and this will bring more dry lightning strikes and less rainfall. We’ve already had fires in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area that have destroyed forever large areas of Gondwanan forest. 

Our extraordinary kelp forests, once the source of plentiful marine life, used to stretch along the east coast and are almost gone. Now is the time for the Gutwein Government do everything it can to protect what we have left. 

The Liberals in Government have stopped preparing a State of the Environment report, gutted the expertise of the Threatened Species Unit, gifted wilderness areas to developers, and ramped up native forest logging. 

The formal directive by the Liberals to the EPA is that it must assess environmental protection through the lens of government policies, which elevate economic productivity above everything else.

These distortions have to change if we are to avoid losing whole ecosystems as well as countless individual threatened animals and plants. 

Instead of logging native forests and privatising wilderness and reserves, the Gutwein Government should be protecting these critical ecosystems. Instead of underfunding government agencies, it should be preserving biodiversity by funding jobs to remove invasive species and restore landscapes. 

We urge the Gutwein Government to listen to the science. All governments have to act now, as there’s no time to wait.