Media Release - 25 November 2015
Conservation groups today welcomed the introduction of new biodiversity legislation into the WA State Parliament by Hon. Albert Jacob Minister for the Environment and Heritage.
Environment groups, scientists and community members have been pushing for new biodiversity laws to replace the outdated and ineffective 1950 Wildlife Conservation Act for several decades.
Piers Verstegen, Director CCWA said 'This bill is a significant achievement and if passed, will be an important step towards the protection of our globally unique plants and animals here in WA.
“New powers contained in the Bill will enable the protection of forests, woodlands, wetlands and other habitat that our wildlife relies on. This is a very welcome improvement on current legislation which does not protect wildlife habitat.
“There are a range of welcome new measures for wildlife protection and recovery contained in the bill, however it appears that the application of these new powers and provisions will be entirely at the discretion of the Minister.
“At a time when government bulldozers are set to destroy the Beeliar Wetlands for an unwanted freeway, it is critical that we have a transparent and independent process for protecting wildlife - not one that leaves the fate of our wildlife up to the discretion of the Minister.
“Other concerns with the bill include the lack of protection for fish, and native vegetation approved for clearing by the Department of Mines and Petroleum or other agencies will not be protected under this new legislation.
“Overall this bill is a very positive step forward for our wildlife and natural places and we will look forward to the implementation of the new provisions for protection of wildlife habitat across WA
“In addition to the bill, we urge the government to commit significant additional funding to protection of wildlife and to initiate an urgent audit of all native wildlife habitat to identify priority areas for protection under these new laws”