Media Releases - 12 June 2019
Queensland's environment deserves more
- Queensland’s environment faces a myriad of threats, including deforestation and climate change
- Significant investment in protected areas and threatened species recovery is required to stymie the loss of habitat and wildlife
- Despite budget allocations in 2019, Queensland's environment remains heavily underfunded
Following the release of the State’s Budget yesterday, The Wilderness Society has welcomed funding
allocated for a range of environmental initiatives but urged the government to increase its investment
in protected areas and threatened species recovery as a matter of urgency.
“Queensland is home to an extraordinary number and variety of plants and animals—some of which are found nowhere else in Australia or the world. Animals like the koala, which is vulnerable to extinction in Queensland due to deforestation and habitat fragmentation,” says Queensland Campaign Manager, Gemma Plesman.
“Queensland's diversity keeps our air and water clean, builds our soil, pollinates our crops and helps mitigate the impacts of climate change. Everyday Queenslanders want to see the government taking action to protect our natural environment.
“Protected areas are widely recognised as one of the most effective approaches to the conservation of nature.
“We are pleased that the 2019 State Budget has made some minor investment to Queensland’s protected areas. Unfortunately however, the expansion of our protected area network has been minimal and Queensland is currently lagging behind other states. Furthermore, park management is chronically underfunded.
“What we really need to see is significant investment that would benefit wildlife and our tourism sector, which thrives with healthy national parks.”
Koalas are one animal which, despite being iconic, are facing death by a thousand cuts. Statewide, Queensland has lost over 43% of koala numbers, and in the Koala Coast east of Brisbane there has been an 80% decline in numbers. It is estimated that the species will go extinct by 2050 in some areas in the wild unless action is taken to reverse population declines.
“It’s unbelievable to see that koala habitat is still being bulldozed at a huge scale around the state. If the government is serious about halting the koala’s slide towards extinction then they must stop the bulldozing of koala habitat,” continues Gemma.
“Koalas have been allocated a modest $1.5 million in this year’s budget—a sum which pales in comparison to the threats they are facing. Saving Queensland’s koalas requires significant investment and strong laws to end habitat loss.
“Queenslanders would agree that, while it’s important the government is acknowledging the threats facing our unique environment, ultimately it deserves far more.”
For further comment, please contact Wilderness Society Queensland Campaign Manager Gemma Plesman on 0423 044 431.