Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens Environment spokesperson
Today is National Threatened Species Day, commemorating the anniversary of the death of the last thylacine in 1936. Unfortunately, the Liberals seem intent on repeating the mistakes that saw our most iconic species disappear from our island 81 years ago.
While the Eastern Quoll, the Swift Parrot and the Tasmanian Devil may have the highest profiles, there are 680 species listed under the Threatened Species Protection Act as endangered or at risk.
Urgent action is required to ensure the survival of many of these species, but Environment Minister Matthew Groom seems intent on ignoring their plight.
Under Minister Groom, the government’s Threatened Species Unit has itself become a threatened species, with staff cut from 15 full-time equivalent staff to just 2.8 FTE.
Their expert advice is routinely ignored by the Minister and, due to the massive funding cuts, their management plans for threatened species cannot be updated or implemented.
The Eastern Quoll, for example, is still yet to be listed as endangered by the state, despite the Federal Government listing it in 2015. The Save the Devil program is reportedly so short of funding its steering committee has not met in at least two years.
The Greens call on the Minister to reinstate funding to the Threatened Species Unit, and start treating Tasmania’s shrinking biodiversity as the serious issue it is.