Victoria’s environment department has revealed that 1,500 threatened species are still waiting on action plans being developed, after the department’s funding was gutted by Labor.
Only 100 species have had plans developed by the Victorian Government over the last two years, after a scathing Victorian Auditor-General's Office (VAGO) report in 2021 found the Department was not developing plans as required under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act laws.
The revelation comes as the state prepares itself for what will likely be another El Niño summer, increasing the risk of deadly bushfires and the destruction of critical habitat.
Earlier this week, Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens Ellen Sandell asked a department spokesperson for an update on the action statements as part of the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC).
The spokesperson responded saying that 100 action statements had been completed since 2021, and there were still 1,500 left to complete.
The spokesperson also said that annual reports for the department’s Biodiversity 2037 strategy were still ‘coming’, despite having released no annual reports since 2020.
The Greens say in the midst of an extinction crisis, Labor needs to stop short-changing the state’s precious wildlife.
Since 2014, the number of species and ecosystems on the brink of extinction has risen from 687 to 2,000, yet environment and biodiversity funding was cut by 25% in this year’s Victorian State Budget.
This follows a 2021 VAGO report which was scathing in its findings that there are significant funding shortfalls for biodiversity programs in Victoria.
Quotes attributable to Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell MP:
“It’s outrageous that the Victorian Labor Government is happy to throw billions towards polluting mega toll roads and prisons, but only spend pennies on our environment and wildlife.
“Victorians across the state care deeply about our precious threatened species, but Labor in Victoria just doesn’t prioritise them. Labor has cut funding for biodiversity programs which means we have 1,500 threatened species with no action plans for their survival.
“Without plans to protect and preserve our threatened species, this upcoming summer could be devastating for our native wildlife.
“Labor needs to stop short-changing our environment and properly fund the environment department so it can complete action statements and plans to protect all of our threatened species.”