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State of Environment is Devastating

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 19 July 2022

Tags: Environment, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Native Forest Logging

The Australian State of the Environment Report paints a devastating picture of Australia’s ecosystems and biodiversity.

This report is a wake-up call – and the Rockliff Liberal Government needs to end regulations that give developers and resource extraction industries unfettered access to damage critical habitat.

Inaction on climate change, reckless habitat destruction, a failure to properly monitor changes, and woefully inadequate environmental laws have perpetuated a disastrous environmental decline across the Australian landscape, including in Tasmania.

In this context it is unforgivable the Tasmanian Liberal Government has already missed two statutory deadlines for Tasmanian State of Environment reports, with the third rapidly approaching.

The Australian report highlights just how little we know about the state of Tasmania’s environment – but what we do know is grim.

Tasmania’s last SOE report was 13 years ago, and since then wide-spread environmental deregulation has occurred, key environmental bureaucracies have been politicised, and their mandates to protect the environment have been replaced with top-down directives to facilitate business growth.

Tasmania has a number of endangered species – including the swift parrot, masked owl, Maugean skate, Tasmanian devil, orange-bellied parrot, wedge tailed eagles and red handfish – all being actively threatened by ineffectual national and state environmental laws. The threat to endangered species from native forest logging, inshore salmon farming and inappropriately placed wind farms are obvious examples of failed laws in action.

The special carve out for native forest industries, in which the Regional Forest Agreement is exempt from EPBC assessment, has precipitated the broad-scale clearing of native habitat and rapid decline in threatened species in Tasmania. The failure to include climate impacts in any state or federal assessments for developments or resource extraction means there is no capacity to account for carbon emissions.

We are in a climate and biodiversity crisis, but our current laws make it impossible to protect Earth’s life systems.

Premier Rockliff needs to respond to this crisis by ending native forest logging, bringing on strong environmental laws, making the EPA independent of government and business, and resourcing Tasmania’s environment reporting that’s required by law.