Today’s release of the 2018 NSW State of the Environment Report must serve as a wake up call to the NSW Coalition that they can no longer neglect nature and environmental protection according to Independent MLC Justin Field.
The new Minister for Environment and Energy, Matt Kean, today tabled the triennial report in the NSW Parliament.
The report provides an assessment of the state of environmental resources, trends and threats in NSW. Some key findings in the report include:
- 1025 plants and animals are threatened in NSW representing a 3% increase
- The number of threatened species is listed as poor and getting worse
- Land clearing, invasive species and climate change are listed as the drivers of increased threatened species
- Land clearing records have not been updated since 2014/15, meaning the report fails to consider recent changes to tree clearing laws
- Invasive species continue to have significant economic and ecological impacts on NSW and current controls have not been effective at reducing impacts
- Marine protections have decreased reflecting the winding back of 10 marine sanctuary areas
Newly Independent MLC Justin Field said “Following the damning UN report warning of mass extinctions from widespread environmental neglect and human actions, the NSW Environment report card shows we are contributing to this global problem. We can and must turn this around.
“The report is clear, the last eight years of Liberal/National Government has resulted in worsening outcomes for threatened species, increased tree clearing and growing climate change impacts.
“NSW has over 1000 plants and animals listed as threatened. We know that land clearing and deforestation is one of the biggest risks to biodiversity but the figures available are more than three years old.
“What’s the point of a state of environment report when the the Government isn’t accurately monitoring the state of the environment?
“The community expectation is that all sides of politics work together to protect nature, take action on climate change and stop pollution - it’s not too late to turn this around and this is an opportunity with a new Government and new Minister to do just that.
“We need a reset on environmental policy in NSW. At the top of this list must be reducing carbon emissions; stopping native forest logging and protecting critical habitat for Koalas and other threatened species; and taking on the impact of invasive species.
This report must be a line in the sand. A healthy community needs a healthy environment and we can clearly do much better.
The next State of the Environment Report will be released in 2022. Minister Kean has an opportunity to create a genuine environment legacy for the Berejiklian Government but needs a clear plan to turn around the environmental declines of the last eight years.