The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk MP Premier of Queensland
Hon Dr Steven Miles, Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
The Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC) is a non-profit charity founded in 1969 by Arthur Queripel and incorporated in 1981. Registered Charity A0012224D/ ABN 85240279616
The committee and members are appalled at the wanton vandalism and carnage that’s happening in Queensland, the State under your custodianship, at this present time.
The statistics from 2014-15 — the most recent figures we have — show that 2960 square kilometres of forest was cleared in Queensland alone. This has led to a “massive escalation in the rate of deforestation”, which has resulted in the deaths of “countless native animals” and has impacted the Great Barrier Reef significantly; much of the current land-clearing is occurring in Great Barrier Reef catchment areas.
Nationally, the Australian Koala Foundation believes the koala population — which is concentrated across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, is less than 80,000. In addition to koalas, tree-clearing victims include mammals like the feathertail glider, a range of native birds and countless reptiles and frogs.
A new report by RSPCA and WWF-Australia, released Sept 7, significantly on Threatened Species day, highlights the worsening impact of tree-clearing across the east coast of the country — and koalas are on the frontline of clinging onto their existence! “The enormous extent of suffering and death caused makes tree-clearing the single greatest animal welfare crisis,” the report found.
The report exposes that tree-clearing rates due to urban sprawl, (engineered high population growth!) logging and “development” have more than tripled in recent years and Australia’s east coast now is one of 11 global deforestation hot spots.
We call this “development” as synonymous to government-sanctioned environmental vandalism!
Tens of millions of wild animals suffer injuries, displacement and death every year due to the bulldozing of their forest and woodland habitats, the report revealed. So our precious and unique native birds and animals are just collateral damage, in the name of economic progress, “economic growth”?
In Queensland alone, WWF-Australia estimates tree-clearing kills about 34 million native mammals, birds and reptiles annually.
This is genocide, and is shaming us as a supposed first world, developed nation.
Queensland has been rated as a “contemporary hot spot” for land clearing and is on par with places like Brazil, a new study has found. “Land clearing in Queensland is the highest that it has been in the last 10 years,” Dr Reside said.
“We have 95 threatened species of animal, 12 threatened species of plant that are impacted by land clearing.”
Why bother with the facade of having an Environment Department, Minister, if there’s a carte blanche for industries and property developers have an open book to do what they want, and destroy vegetation with impunity? Why have the pretence of any laws, policies or regulations to protect wildlife, our endemic species, or the environment?
According to the above WWF, (above) bulldozing of forests in Queensland has killed tens of millions of the wild Australian animals living there in recent years.
Scientists estimate tree-clearing in Queensland now kills 34 million animals each year: 900,000 mammals like koalas, possums and gliders, 2.6 million birds like cockatoos and 30.6 million reptiles including goannas, dragons, skinks and geckos. Just how are native animals meant to survive the onslaught of chain saws, bulldozers and the sure-killer of habitat being stolen?
Habitat destruction is a major driver of extinction of wildlife. Over 120 Australian vertebrate species have ended up on the
national threatened species list due in large part to bulldozing of their bushland habitats. (Tree Clearing: The hidden crisis of animal welfare in Queensland. Joint RSPCA and WWF report as below).
But this underestimates true numbers of animals affected. In particular, the legacy impacts of clearing due to fragmentation and degradation of the remaining habitat are likely to be even more severe because they are ongoing and affect subsequent generations. This is exemplified by koalas, of which more than 10,000 were admitted to the four wildlife hospitals in southeast Queensland from 2009 to 2014, mainly due to dog attacks and vehicle collisions, more than 10 times the numbers directly affected by clearing.
We would like to know where the leadership is, and how industrialists and property developers have grabbed so much power and influence? What happened to our ethics, wildlife conservation policies, standards of stewardship, and responsibilities to future generations?
This neo-Colonialism can’t be defended by 19th century ignorance, as in the past. So the policy of Terra Nullius is alive and well today, with no State, national or international safeguards against rampant destruction, the further of threatening and killing processes and the sterilization of Queensland to vast, de-nuded landscapes void of native vegetation and indigenous species? What about your responsibilities to our climate change mitigation policies?
Our members are outraged, as is the AWPC committee members. We need some answers, and we demand that NO MORE land be cleared in Queensland, that the Queensland population is stabilised, and there is funding for landscape restoration and re-vegetation of damaged ecosystems – along with protected zones, extra national parks, and breeding programs and release strategies for endangered/threatened species.
Thank you, We wait for a detailed response.
Sincerely, the Committee
Featured image: FEARS ABOUT CONTINUED LARGE-SCALE LAND CLEARING IN QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA
Assoc. Professor Martine Maron at the University of Queensland and Professor Carla Catterall at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, are very concerned about large-scale land clearing Down Under.