Greens back turtle hospital funding

Footage of a rescued turtle at the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre

The Australian Greens say they are proud to have ‘stopped the Abbott government’s plan to water down threatened species protection while also securing $300,000 in government funding for a Great Barrier Reef turtle hospital.

‘In the Senate today, the Greens defeated the Abbott government’s plans to ignore expert advice on threatened species,’ Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said on Thursday.

‘The Abbott government originally wanted to remove the community’s right to take the government to court if it had ignored expert advice on threatened species impacts when approving major developments.

‘The bill would have set a very dangerous precedent of governments giving themselves a free pass to ignore expert advice.

‘Both Labor and the Liberals voted in the Lower House to ignore expert advice on threatened species.

‘The Greens are pleased that our negotiations saw both parties backflip in the Senate and support the Greens’ amendment, restoring the need for threatened species’ conservation advices to be considered in environmental decision making.

‘Removing this patently anti-science approach to environment decision-making from the Environment Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 allowed the Greens to support that part of the bill which increased protection for dugongs and turtles against illegal poaching.

‘We remain of the view that working with Indigenous communities to ensure humane, sustainable take levels for domestic consumption is more likely to successfully stop the rogue hunting which many communities have already voluntarily banned.

‘We are disappointed that our amendment to increase protection for all threatened species, not just turtles and dugongs, from illegal poaching was not supported by either of the major parties.

‘However, we’re proud to have secured much-needed funding for turtle rehabilitation in the Great Barrier Reef, with a commitment from Minister Hunt to provide an additional $300,000 in government funding to the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre.

‘I’ve seen firsthand that the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre is in great need of this extra funding for the important work done there rehabilitating sick and injured turtles.

‘We’ve achieved an positive environmental outcome today, with increased funding for turtle rehabilitation; increased protection for some species from illegal poaching and the retention of conservation advices in approvals,’ Senator Waters concluded.

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