WHAT TOURISTS COME TO SEE
THE Peel Preservation Group is very concerned about the Federal Government’s Budget announcement that it is proposing to cut one-third of the staff from its Department of Environment and Energy (DOEE), with 68 jobs to be lost from the threatened species and communities division.
Protecting our threatened and endangered species needs more dedicated funding, not less.
Overall, Australia is facing an unprecedented loss of biodiversity. Our track record since European settlement is nothing short of appalling.
According to a recent Australian Conservation Foundation report, 29 mammals have become extinct in Australia since colonisation compared with one in the USA. Australia now has 1700 threatened species and ecological communities spread across the country.
As a nation we should hang our head in shame at our very poor response to protecting our native flora and fauna.
From an economic point view, the importance of ecotourism is routinely underestimated.
The burgeoning numbers of tourists from Asia are not coming to WA to see our shopping centres, marinas and canal developments; they’ve got their own. But they are very keen to see our rare and unique flora and fauna, such as our amazing marsupials and our beautiful wildflowers that grow in the southwest of WA, and nowhere else in the world.
But overseas tourists would not be keen to see where the ring tail possum used to live before it became extinct.
While many financially struggling Australians deserve a preelection tax cut, surely there is a way to do this without cutting funding to programs that protect our rare and endangered species. MELVYN J. TUCKEY Committee member Peel Preservation Group