MEDIA RELEASE 20 March 2019 |
The Victorian State of the Environment Report paints a bleak outlook for Victoria’s native plants and animals.
Two-thirds of the state’s indicators for land-based biodiversity were assessed as poor. This is a terrible indictment of Victoria’s capacity to hand our precious natural heritage on to the next generation.
“The health of our unique native plants and animals continues to decline across Victoria. More needs to be done to understand and better protect habitats for threatened species, and to control feral plants and animals like the exploding population of deer” said Matt Ruchel, Executive Director of the Victoria National Parks Association (VNPA).
“We need to invest in secure, long-term funding and an increase in knowledge and management expertise, or this generation will fail in its obligation to protect nature.”
The picture was a bit better in the marine environment, but many issues were unclear or did not have enough data to make an assessment.
“There needs to be a huge ramp up in government efforts to protect nature right across the state if we are to reverse declines and get Victoria’s unique natural areas on a trajectory towards recovery”.
“The only glimmer of light was the one improving trend – private land protection.”
“Private land protection is mostly facilitated by dedicated organisations such as Trust for Nature. Government investment is desperately needed in this space, as current efforts are slow moving and not keeping up with the rate of loss.” said Matt Ruchel.
One effective solution would be to allocate between $30 – $40 million to a perpetual Revolving Fund so Trust for Nature (a statutory authority which purchases or covenants land for conservation) can be more effective. A ramped up revolving fund would allow Trust for Nature to purchase properties rich in biodiversity, apply permanent protections and then re-sell all or part of those properties.
During the state election last year, VNPA along with four other leading conservation and environment groups, called for a significant increase in funding for national parks and private land conservation, as well as for new national parks, specific program funding and broader reform.
There were few nature conservation commitments at the last state election from any of the major parties. See the joint statement from environment groups on the natural environment from November 2018 here: www.vnpa.org.au/victorias-natural-environment-in-limbo-but-voters-want-action
This independent report produced by the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability Victoria, an independent statutory authority, has been tabled in the Victorian Parliament and shows it is now time for renewed commitment from our leaders. See the full report here: www.ces.vic.gov.au/reports/state-environment-2018
The Victorian National Parks Association is a community based conservation organisation established in 1952.