(Greens-Media) Native animals and plants one step closer to extinction

Submitted by Editor on Thu, 02/09/2004 - 21:53

The survival of threatened plants and animals in NSW should be based on solid science, not on politics, Greens MLC Ian Cohen said of proposed changes introduced into NSW Parliament today.

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Paul Sheridan
Paul.Sheridan@parliament.nsw.gov.au
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1 September, 2004

Mr Cohen said changes to laws protecting the state's threatened species demonstrate there has been little political will to make the current laws work and that the government is now seeking to weaken them further.

"How many more species do we have to lose before the NSW Government gets it right?

"The Threatened Species Conservation Act was established in 1995 to protect and conserve the threatened species of NSW. Poor funding and a lack of political will have so far made sure the Act has not had a chance to work."

Mr Cohen said the proposed changes would remove the right of community groups to challenge clearing approvals in the courts and interfere with the independence of the Scientific Committee that determines when species are listed as threatened.

"Instead of releasing badly needed resources, the Carr Government wants to set up a Socio-Economic Committee to decide whether saving a species is too expensive or bad for business.

"This has been made clear in the government's own discussion paper, which says that changes aim to deliver programs that seem reasonable to farmers and developers. There has been nothing done to improve protection measures for threatened species."

Mr Cohen said clear guidelines for everyone involved are important but that the protection and recovery of threatened species is non-negotiable.

"This is not just some fluffy argument about cuddly animals. This is about preventing the extinction of species and the community has a right to be concerned if the Carr Government is going to make it easier for developers to clear the land that protects them."

There are 555 threatened plants and 254 threatened animals in NSW and 65 endangered ecological communities. 37 plant species and 40 animal species are now extinct in NSW.

Further Information: Paul Sheridan, 0410 516 656

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