Victoria is the most cleared state in Australia. Seventy percent of our forests have been destroyed. Our remaining native vegetation is under threat, surviving in isolated patches, and our freshwater environments are in decline.
Thirty percent of our animal species are listed as threatened and our faunal emblem, the Leadbeater’s Possum, is critically endangered. Even common species like the Magpie and the Willy Wagtail are declining and the chance of seeing a Kookaburra in Victoria has halved since 1999!
Part of the problem is that the laws intended to protect nature are not doing their job.
Victoria’s Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act was groundbreaking when it was passed in 1988 but now it’s decades old and needs a major overhaul.
The Act is supposed to guarantee protection of plants and animals in our state. Unfortunately it’s turned out to be a toothless tiger.
It’s focussed on listing threatened species (631 species and 40 ecological communities to date) but not on protecting them.
Less than half of the species listed have plans for how the species will be brought back from decline — and some of those are decades old but still yet to be implemented. The Victorian government has never made use of their ability to declare critical habitat for species protection.
What’s needed is a fresh approach that focuses on protecting and reconnecting habitat for all our precious species.
The good news is, the Andrews government has committed to reviewing the Act so we have a great opportunity to update the laws that protect nature and make sure they do their job!
Take action. Tell the Minister for Environment to protect threatened species.
Header image credit: Doug Gimesy