24 February 2014
SA’s peak environment body will today formally lodge with the Commonwealth an application to list employees of the SA Environment Department as an Endangered Species.
The action comes as a group of native plants and animals gather on the steps of Parliament House to protest the threat to this important species: “Protect the People who Protect Us!”
“The staff of the state’s environment agencies are now as threatened as the plants and animals they are trying to protect,” said Conservation Council SA Chief Executive Craig Wilkins.
“The ongoing savage funding cuts to the environment portfolio are wiping out expert knowledge and essential services needed to protect and maintain our environment.
“This is having a devastating on-ground impact on some of South Australia’s favourite places.
“The most recent report card on the state’s environment showed that 9 out of 10 indicators were in a poor or very poor state,” he said.
Duncan Mackenzie, of the Friends of Parks Board and Chairman of Gluepot Reserve, said the cut-backs had meant a reduction of services in the state’s parks and reserves, and the loss of a large number of Park Ranger positions.
“Our entire protected reserve system, popularly known as national parks, is suffering from a lack of maintenance, significant reductions in on-ground ranger staff and an increasing reliance on volunteers to make up the shortfall. This is simply not sustainable,” Mr Mackenzie said.
“We expect our Government to look after our collective backyard. This means an appropriate commitment and investment into its protection and maintenance,” Craig Wilkins said.
“State Government spending on the environment has been falling alarmingly over the last few years. For every $50 the Government spends, only $1 – just over 2% - is spent on the environment, and this is set to be slashed further.
“We can’t have a viable clean food industry unless nature is working well. Our tourism industry is highly dependent on places like Kangaroo Island and Cleland National Park. Our wellbeing and prosperity is entirely dependent on a healthy, functioning environment.
“There is an urgent need for our political leaders to invest in our environment and the future of our state’s natural spaces,” he said.
For additional media information or to arrange an interview please contact
Meg Sobey, Policy and Communications Officer on 0411 028 930