By Terri Butler MP

19 September 2021

The Morrison-Joyce Government has decided to downgrade threatened species recovery, with a move to drop recovery plans for 157 threatened species, after they failed to meet statutory deadlines in almost every case.

Of 170 outstanding recovery plans required by law,167 are overdue.

It has been reported that fewer than 40 per cent of nationally-listed threatened species have a recovery plan.

This is perhaps unsurprising given the Liberal-National Government’s massive cuts – in the order of 40 per cent - to environment funding.

The recovery planning process has been beset by long delays, poor implementation, and poor monitoring.

Scott Morrison’s solution to his Government’s delays, cuts and incompetence? Instead of making improvements, his Government will just ditch the requirement for recovery plans for 157 threatened species.

Instead, his Government will be downgrading protections by leaving the species with conservation advices only, instead of both conservation advices and recovery plans.

Recovery plans are stronger.

The Minister for the Environment must not act inconsistently with a recovery plan. Commonwealth agencies are prohibited from contravening them.

In contrast, the Minister just has to “have regard to” conservation advices.

Mr Morrison and his Environment Minister should focus on how to improve threatened species protection, rather than downgrading protection in an attempt to hide the Government’s environmental shortcomings.

This latest move is consistent with the Morrison-Joyce Government's lack of urgency and action in relation to environmental protection.

Scott Morrison can’t even be bothered taking appropriate steps to save Australia’s iconic koala.

Australia’s National Koala Conservation Strategy expired in 2014, and it hasn’t been replaced in eight long years of neglectful Liberal-National Government. 

He doesn’t hold a hose, he says it’s not a race, everything’s up to the states, and now Scott Morrison is downgrading his Government’s responsibility for saving Australian species from the threat of extinction.