Today is National Threatened Species Day, held each year to commemorate the tragic death of the last Tasmanian Tiger that died in captivity in Hobart in 1936.
We attempted to present an invoice to the Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas for over $2million dollars for the work citizen science groups have carried out conducting pre-logging surveys for protected species in Victoria's forests.
He wasn't available but Greens member of Parliament Samantha Dunn took the invoice and offered to present it to Parliament on our behalf.
Read our media release below.
Media Release 7/9/16 - National Threatened Species Day
Citizen Scientists invoice Victorian government for $2million
Environment groups will converge at the Treasury building today at 10am for National Threatened Species day.
The groups are calling on the State government to better protect species such as the threatened Greater Glider and Victoria’s animal emblem, the critically endangered Leadbeater’s possum.
Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO), Wildlife of the Central Highlands (WOTCH) and Fauna and Flora Research Collective (FFRC) has spent over 10,000 hours conducting citizen surveys and reporting protected wildlife in areas designated for logging by VicForests.
Their successful surveys have resulted in hundreds of hectares of protected areas that would have been logged if not for voluntary surveys.
Based on standard rates for environmental consulting, the groups have put a $2million price tag on their work and have prepared an invoice addressed to VicForests sole shareholder, Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas.
“In East Gippsland several logging operations have been halted this year after our surveys found threatened Greater Gliders that trigger legal protection. If not for our surveys to identify protected habitat, these forests would have been illegally logged,” said Ed Hill.
“Citizen surveys have recorded over 25 Leadbeater’s possums this year, in forests earmarked for logging within the proposed Great Forest National Park. The Andrews government is allowing logging in critical habitat without looking for protected species. It’s up to the community to pick up the pieces of a broken and corrupt regulatory system where state owned logging company VicForests conducts its own environmental assessments,” said Ed Hill.
"Environment Minister Lily D’Ambroiso should hand responsibility for looking for threatened species in forests slated for logging to an independent body, not VicForests," said Ed Hill.
"A logging company conducting its own environmental assessments is like a Tobacco company assessing the health impacts of cigarettes, it's a blatant conflict of interest and out of step with the transparency and accountability that Daniel Andrews promised Victorian's when he took office", said Ed Hill.
“We have been doing to governments job for them by finding protected species and making sure legally required protections are implemented. Our wildlife is being pushed further towards extinction while the government wastes millions of tax payer dollars each year propping up VicForests and then leaves it up to the community to police their operations.”
"Andrews has been all talk and no action on threatened species. The government’s Forest Industry Taskforce is talking to find solutions to protect threatened species, but logging in sensitive habitats continues whilst the talking goes ahead. How many more precious areas of critical habitat for these species will be lost while the Taskforce talks?" said Ed Hill.
Media contact: Ed Hill - 0414 199 645- firstname.lastname@example.org - www.geco.org.au