Australian news, and some related international items

Federal and State policies betray Australia’s environment, and fail climate action

ClimateFail: Turnbull Government abandons any pretence of climate policy, Independent Australia  Sue Arnold 22 May 2017 ‘A mountain of strategies, plans, reviews, meetings of ministers and promises substitute for any action at a time when climate change is wreaking havoc on the environment and wildlife.’A MASSIVE BETRAYAL of environmental issues is now entrenched in Federal and state government policies.

The failure to provide adequate funding in the Turnbull/Morrison 2017 Budget should eradicate any lingering doubts over the attitude and policy failures of this appalling Coalition Government and the spin-off impacts at the State level. The Budget miserliness is a clue to a much bigger picture.

In essence, the environment has been pushed to the back of the bus. International obligations under conventions that Australia has ratified are ignored. Entire forests must have disappeared to provide for the mountains of paper and verbiage paying lip service to Australia’s unique biodiversity and environmental heritage.

In 2010, the Federal Government published ‘Australia’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy‘ under the auspices of the National Resource Management Ministerial Council (NRMMC). The strategy stretched from 2010-2030 and was tasked to the National Biodiversity Strategy Review Task Group.

The report is described as:

‘ … the guiding framework for governments to conserve our national biodiversity to 2030. It provides an overview of the state of Australia’s biodiversity and outlines collective priorities for conservation.’

Not only is the strategy a national framework for biodiversity conservation, it also acts as Australia’s principal instrument for implementing the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity.

Ten national targets were identified in the strategy to be completed by 2015:……….

In the meantime, the NRMMC disappeared, as did the National Biodiversity Strategy Review Task Group. A spokesperson from the Department of the Environment and Energy was unable to detail who exactly did away with these two bodies, but it appears that under PM Tony Abbott at the 2013 COAG meeting, COAG agreed that its council system should be streamlined and refocussed on COAG’s priorities over the next 12–18 months. 22 councils were reduced to eight, including the eradication of the Council on Environmental Regulation Reform.

Nevertheless, in 2015 as required under the strategy, a review of the first five years conducted by the Australian Government, State and Territory governments and the Australian Local Government Association examined the operation and implementation of the strategy.

The results are a damning indictment of not only a national failure to uphold any of the ten national targets but also a failure by state and local governments………

An analysis of the Federal Government’s Listed Key Threatening Processes demonstrates a bizarre list, which completely fails to include loss of habitat, the primary cause of extinction. The focus is on damage caused by rabbits, goats, fire ants and cane toads. Human created developments such as mining, forestry, dams and other environmentally damaging practices are ignored.

Listed species are required to have recovery plans under the Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act l999 (EPBC). Under the Act, the minister can and does delay recovery plans for up to six years. There is no legal process that allows the public interest to force the minister to speed up the finalisation or implementation of any Recovery Plan.

The procedure to nominate listing a species starts off with a minimum time frame of 4.5 months to overcome bureaucratic hurdles and an infinite time for the Minister to make a final decision.

His decision does not have to take into account any recommendations made by the Threatened Species Committee.

There is little doubt that the environment has become the lowest policy priority for state and Federal governments.

Instead, a mountain of strategies, plans, reviews, meetings of ministers and promises substitute for any action at a time when climate change is wreaking havoc on the environment and wildlife.

You can follow Sue Arnold on Twitter @koalacrisis and Koala Crisis on Facebook here,10322


May 24, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment

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