MEDIA RELEASE for July 21, 2017
Peak environment group Queensland Conservation Council is calling for urgent action to control land clearing in Queensland, saying the future of the state’s biodiversity, including our koalas and threatened species, depends on it.
A scientific report examining the effects of land clearing in Queensland on the state’s threatened species was released today. The ‘Species Technical Committee’ report* on land clearing indicates that the impacts for biodiversity are widespread and significant.
Two floral species have become extinct directly through clearing and many animals and plants, including threatened species, are at risk because of the loss of habitat due to clearing. Millions of animals have died from land clearing, and this trend continues today.
The report highlights that habitat loss is the greatest threat to species, and that land clearing is the main driver of this. The report also indicates that the effects of climate change om biodiversity will be exacerbated where habitats have been destroyed.
“This report is a wake-up call to our politicians that we need urgent action to control land clearing in the state”, said Queensland Conservation Council head Dr Tim Seelig.
“We know that Queensland is the land clearing capital of Australia, and our deforestation rates are once more comparable with clearing in the Amazon.
“Land clearing is out of control again in Queensland, and this has a devastating impact on native animals and their habitats, as well as pushing species towards extinction.
“This new report highlights that Queensland's biodiversity is getting smashed by land clearing, and we need to stop this madness.
“Each year we are seeing 300,000 hectares – the same area as 300,000 footy fields – cleared by the bulldozers for cattle grazing, cropping, mining and urban development.
“Our native wildlife can’t keep up with this loss of habitat, and we risk losing iconic critters such as the koala in south-east Queensland, or the Black-throated Finch, Red Goshawk and other rare species elsewhere in Queensland.
“The simple fact is that our land clearing laws are not strong enough. They were significantly weakened by the Newman LNP government, and they need urgent reform.
“Nature is crying out for strong protections for native woodlands and habitats, including regenerating areas, and we need to close off legal loopholes being used to clear large areas.
“We call on all of Queensland’s political parties to back our sensible 10 Point Plan developed for land clearing reform, and to make sure our biodiversity gets the best protection possible.”
A number of conservation and wildlife carer groups including QCC are working together to secure stronger land clearing laws, and have developed a Ten Point Plan for action: http://www.queenslandconservation.org.au/land_clearing
For further comment contact:
Queensland Conservation Council Coordinator Dr Tim Seelig on 0439 201 183
*Available on the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection website