The Victorian Greens have marked World Environment Day by introducing a motion for an inquiry into the crisis facing Victoria’s natural environment and threatened species.
On the back of a UN report that found one million species were at risk of extinction, Victorian Greens Leader Samantha Ratnam said governments everywhere must take urgent action to address the challenges facing our natural environment.
“Today is World Environment Day but this year there is very little to celebrate,” Ratnam said.
“The world is facing an extinction crisis and ecosystems are on the verge of collapse. This isn’t some distant, abstract challenge, Victoria’s natural environment is under threat and our precious species are disappearing now."
“The fact that the Leadbeater’s possum, our animal emblem, is on the verge of extinction is a tragedy caused by years of government logging, mismanagement and neglect.”
“An inquiry would identify solutions to restore habitat and threatened species.”
“Given the scope of the environmental challenge we’re facing, I can’t see how any party could justify opposing this much needed inquiry.”
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The terms of reference for the inquiry are as follows:
That this House:
1. Notes the recent UN Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services found that more animals and plants are threatened with extinction than ever before in human history, and that the decline of ecosystems threatens the resilience of agriculture and human wellbeing.
2. Notes the Victorian State of the Environment Report demonstrates significant decline in Victoria’s natural environment as well as increasing rates of native species extinction.
3. Requires the Environment and Planning Committee to inquire into, consider and report, by September 2020, on the decline of Victoria’s ecosystems, the extinction crisis and measures to restore habitats and populations of threatened and endangered species, including but not limited to:
a) The extent of the decline of Victoria’s biodiversity and the likely impact on people, particularly First People, and ecosystems, if more is not done to address this, including consideration of climate change impacts;
b) The adequacy of the legislative framework protecting Victoria’s environment, including grasslands, forests and the marine and coastal environment, and native species;
c) The adequacy and effectiveness of government programs and funding protecting and restoring Victoria’s ecosystems;
d) Legislative, policy, program and funding solutions to facilitate ecosystem and species protection, restoration and recovery in Victoria, in the context of climate change impacts;
e) Opportunities to restore Victoria’s environment while upholding First Peoples’ connection to country, and increasing and diversifying employment opportunities in Victoria.
f) Any other related matters.