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Byron Shire
April 22, 2024

Time is up for business as usual on biodiversity

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The North Coast Environment Council (NCEC) says it’s about time we had a Prime Minister who understands there is a biodiversity crisis and who is prepared to make a public global commitment to reversing biodiversity loss.

The group says that if Anthony Albanese follows through on this commitment we should see revitalised and strong environmental laws and an end to Commonwealth support for the logging of native forests.

A spokesperson for the NCEC, Vice President Susie Russell, said it was heartening to hear the Prime Minister endorse the World Leaders Pledge for Nature and commit to reverse Australia’s biodiversity loss by 2030. ‘Needless to say the previous Coalition Government had refused to commit.

Albanese needs to get cracking 

Ms Russell said he will need to get cracking! ‘Everywhere we look, nature is coming last and more and more species are being pushed towards the extinction cliff from which there is no return.

‘On the north coast some of our most iconic animals are on the brink. The koala, and the Greater Glider are both now recognised as endangered. The Glossy Black Cockatoo is considered vulnerable to extinction, and several frog species are likely to be listed as endangered in the next month, including Pugh’s Frog, named for north coast forest conservationist, Dailan Pugh.’

Ms Russell said the Commonwealth Government has the ultimate responsibility to ensure these species survive. ‘Removing subsidies that are harmful to biodiversity combined with smart and strategic investment in nature protection and restoration, would yield multiple benefits to both regional communities through employment initiatives and savings through disaster prevention.

Saying one thing and doing another

‘Of course, we are concerned that as with the previous Governments, they may say one thing and do another. And the contradiction in the Government’s climate policy where it says it will reduce emissions while enabling new fossil fuel developments and failing to rule our using native forests in power stations for electricity generation, is cause for worry.

‘Nonetheless, the strong statements by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, calling for an end to the War on Nature and recognition that “biodiversity it the web of life that connects all our lives”, sets the tone for the Global Biodiversity COP 15 (Conference of the Parties) to be held in Montreal in December.

Bold and visionary

Ms Russell said the NCEC is looking forward to seeing the voluntary commitments Australia makes. ‘They need to be bold and visionary.

‘The web of life – animals, plants, fungi – all need a safe and relatively stable climate and habitat protection. We humans are part of, and dependent on that web, Our species won’t survive if too many of the strands are broken.

‘Time is up for business as usual. Too many years have been squandered already.’

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  1. There are plenty of endangered species from around the world that would do very well in Australia and help with our bio-diversity. The one million immigrates in the next five years, could bring some with them. That would make our bush far more diverse.

  2. Let’s start with a Council and Councillors that are committed to action on biodiversity and environment right down to practical addressing of compliance and prioritising of budgets.
    Everyone campaigns on it and business build their brands around yet community spends endless hours to address hundreds of dogs of leash in high biodiversity areas of Byron threatening wildlife that is also getting getting smashed every night for drivers. A fortune is spent on signs that don’t work and traffic management meetings don’t achieve what’s required which is fines and cameras.
    Our nature reserves are not managed for the visitation so we have thousands of people trampling fragile species as our parking for these areas has gone neglected for years. Many don’t even pay anything for the privilege because infrastructure ( which can repay itself) is not prioritised.
    Anyone that presents these issues is told it’s hard getting staff yet these issues were on the table well before Covid, floods, droughts and staff issues.
    It is difficult to get staff yet they are directed to some areas and not to others.

    There are a plethora of staff visible working for Council on certain projects yet others especially environmental ones or those related get neglected.
    How can we uphold our sustainability biodiversity plans at a local government issue if we don’t address the legislation and resourcing that upholds them.
    We need practical action on biodiversity ie ensuring Council has Rangers working when dogs are out, we need more collaboration with key stakeholders with strategies that work. We have no traffic management plans on public roads next to high biodiversity areas.

    A local and pragmatic commitment to unravelling the bureaucratic process that encumbers protecting biodiversity and getting realistic about what’s required to make the changes is needed for biodiversity to flourish.


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