Aug 29, 2006

Campbell Fails to Address Extinction Crisis

Campbell Fails to Address Extinction Crisis

MEDIA RELEASE – ANTHONY ALBANESE MP

29 August 2006

Ian Campbell’s obsession with the orange-bellied parrot cannot cover up the Howard Government’s failure to save Australia’s unique plant and animal species.

Australia has an extinction crisis, and spending $3m on one parrot species comes just one day after the Prime Minister said he was “sceptical” about climate change predictions.

Australia has more endangered species than any other continent, with 54 animal species and 61 flower species already extinct and hundreds more critically endangered.

The number of terrestrial bird and animal species listed as extinct, endangered or vulnerable rose by 41% from 1995 to 2005.

Climate change will worsen this extinction crisis, threatening our unique plant and animal species from the Great Barrier Reef to the biodiversity of southwest Australia.

The respected international biodiversity expert, Professor Norman Myers, has warned the world is facing the largest mass extinction in 65 million years. Professor Myers told the National Press Club in March 2006 that Australia’s conservation efforts would be “brought to nought” unless we tackled climate change.

That’s bad news for the orange-bellied parrot.

The Flat Earth Industry Minister doesn’t think humans are changing the earth’s climate, the out of touch Prime Minister is sceptical of the “more gloomy predictions” of climate change, and the procrastinating Environment Minister thinks we should take action, but not yet.

The humiliation of the Environment Minister arising from his political decision to stop the $220 million Bald Hills wind farm project, is just given more focus by his passionate defence of the orange bellied parrot while other endangered species disappear. Someone should tell the Minister, “when you’re in a hole, stop digging”.

Our children and grandchildren will look back harshly at the wasted Howard years, with its failure to tackle climate change and save our precious biodiversity.