WHAT TOURISTS COME TO SEE

Pinjarra Murray Times - - OPINION -

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

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