Wildlife extinctions will continue without federal spending

Conservationists and scientists are urging the federal government to put more of our tax dollars towards reversing the "deplorable decline" of Queensland’s nature.

This follows a new report analysing government spending on biodiversity, which reveals the Australian federal government budgets just 0.1% or one in every thousand dollars of tax paid on protecting nature, yet allows our hard-earned tax dollars to subsidise the fossil fuel industry at a rate sixteen times greater.

The Queensland Conservation Council, alongside an alliance of conservationists and scientists, are calling for the federal government to prioritise a healthy future for our beautiful country by dedicating just 1% of Federal spending towards saving nature.

Queensland Conservation Council Protected Areas Campaigner Nicky Moffat said:

Australia's nature is in crisis. Australia leads the world in mammal extinctions, we are the only developed country on the global list of deforestation hotspots, and 19 Australian ecosystems are showing signs of collapse including coastal mangroves, native forests and our woodlands.

Queensland has more unique plants and animals than any Australian State, and half of Australia’s 2,212 threatened species of plant and animals. Yet our vast state has less than 9% protected areas, with no federal funding for its growth or management.

The Federal Environment Minister committed to the global 30by30 goal and spending on nature has increased on her watch, but much more needs to be done. Only 22% of Australia’s land is protected, meaning an extra 60 million hectares of land needs to be protected by 2030.

The greatest opportunity to reach this goal is here in Queensland. The Queensland Government has made record investments in recent years, but we need federal funding support.

Dedicating just 1% of the federal government's spending would be transformational for Australia’s nature, as well as the economy and communities. It would put us on the path to reversing the decline of nature in Australia, achieving 30by30 and inspiring the world to do more.

Biodiversity Council Co-Chief Councillor Professor Hugh Possingham, The University of Queensland, said:

Monitoring for the last 25 years has shown that threatened species in Australia have been declining at 2% per year. If Australia’s GDP was declining at 2% every year for 25 years, there would be a national outcry. If GDP declines for just two quarters, we call it a recession. If we invested just 1% of the budget in nature, we could stop that decline by 2030.

There is one simple solution to the extinction crisis – investing in species and habitat recovery.

Just one percent of the national budget would give us a fighting chance of being nature positive by 2030. Without that investment we will not meet our global commitment.

A smart business invests 5-10% of its budget in infrastructure – like equipment and buildings. A smart nation should invest at least 1% of their budget in nature, the infrastructure that powers our economy and well-being.

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What have we got if there's no nature left? South East Queensland used to have one of the most abundant and healthy koala populations in QLD. Now because of habitat loss, koalas are endangered. Every remaining hectare of koala habitat must remain protected.