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Threatened Species Day

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 7 September 2022

Tags: Threatened Species

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Speaker, today is Threatened Species Day. The Government list of threatened species in Tasmania shows us some really tragic numbers. There are 708 species listed as vulnerable, 693 as rare, and 721 endangered. Of those endangered species, 43 are critically endangered.

Today, the Government should be talking to us about its plans to strengthen the environment, fix our planning laws, and the policies they are going to change to stop the damage to the environment, to stop the destruction to natural systems that is driving plants and animals towards extinction.

Instead of doing that, the anti-protest legislation passed today. It is about a government that is focused on locking up people who will - required by the circumstances they find themselves in - stand up and do everything they can to protect this beautiful natural world that is rapidly changing before us.

The life threats to all species on Earth - but particularly the ones that we are custodians of in Tasmania - is extreme. The culmination of climate change is the greatest threat overall. In Tasmania, the biggest threat in the near situation is the Government's policies of logging native habitat, and in the north-west of Tasmania, allowing companies like CCP-owned MMG to explore the Tarkine ancient Huon pine forest - home to the endangered Tasmanian masked owl, the spotted-tail quoll, the giant freshwater lobster, the crayfish. The onslaught of logging and mining in that area that is proposed would wipe out irreplaceable habitat. You cannot grow back Huon pines, and you cannot grow back the habitat that those animals and plants need to survive. It is a whole system.

We have a Government that will end the funding for the Tasmanian devil recovery program. We have devils being killed - 158 in the last 18 months, on a 25-kilometre stretch of the Woolnorth Road. That stretch of road could have a reduction in the speed limit. Instead the minister announced today more ineffective measures. The same ones that have been in place for years and have had no effect. You cannot get people to voluntarily slow down. Mr Ferguson was just telling us about the sorts of interventions you have to make in order to force people to change their behaviour.

There is no will from this Government to put the interventions in place on businesses, like the truck drivers who rattle along the Woolnorth Road killing a devil every couple of days, according to the wildlife carers who are documenting them every morning when they search the roads.

Robbins Island, where the largest windfarm in Tasmania is proposed, is definitely the worst place in Tasmania to put a windfarm. It is a home for orange-bellied parrots, wedge-tailed eagles, white-bellied sea eagles and a disease-free Tasmanian devil population. It is a critical part of the Arctic and Antarctic north-south flyway for migratory species. Yet, this Government is failing to do the work through the EPA of a proper EPBC assessment process.

The Government has been actively working behind the scenes to try to remove the critical threat of logging from the swift parrot recovery plan at the federal level. Freedom of Information makes it clear that the Government is doing everything to facilitate the interests of Forestry Tasmania, a state-sanctioned, state-funded destruction machine. The giant lobster is affected by silting of waters from Forestry Tasmania residues and the wash-off that is left from clear-felling and burning, releasing carbon emissions into the rapidly heating atmosphere.

It just does not work. Tasmanians who know that this beautiful place is irreplaceable are standing up, and will continue to stand up. They will not be shut up. When there is unjust and deliberate destruction of our wildlife habitat, when there are laws and policies of a government to facilitate that destruction that is driving species to extinction, good people will step up and defend them by every means possible - legal and non-legal - if they have to. We have young and old people who are committed to doing that regardless of the draconian legislation the Government brings in.

There are groups of people in Tasmania who are working every day to defend this place. The Tasmanian Aboriginal communities, the Tasmanian Conservation Trust, the Bob Brown Foundation, BirdLife Tasmania, Environmental Defenders Office, Neighbours of Fish Farming, Tasman Peninsula Marine Protection, The Tree Projects, Grassroots Action Network Tasmania, Fishers & Walkers Tasmania, The Wilderness Society, Tasmanian Land Conservancy, Landcare Tasmania, Greening Australia, the NRMs in the north, north west, and south, Residents Opposed to the Cable Car, Planning Matters Alliance Tasmania, Friends of Franklin Forest, Extinction Rebellion.

These are just some of the groups. There will be more because people know that they have to stand up to unjust laws. It is time for the Liberals to make the changes that we need to the planning and forestry systems before people demand, through their bodies, that they get made.