The IFFA is dedicated to the future of Australian flora and fauna, whether in habitats of world heritage quality or in the urban back yard. Read More
What if flora and fauna had a vote?
In early May IFFA took part in a deputation to the Shadow Minister for the Environment, Lisa Neville. We joined concerned members of the public to express concern at the dismissal of Threatened Species Officers by the State Government under Ted Baillieu. (see Karl Just’s article)
In recent months IFFA has made a number of submissions to the State Government advising our objection to changes being made in land management and species conservation. We are aware of further troubling proposals in the near future.
There are many dedicated environmental advocacy groups; why should IFFA engage in political process?
To put it simply, flora and fauna doesn’t have a vote, our members do.
Diuris fragrantissima, Sunshine Diuris which is endangered at the National and State Level, and is listed under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, being grown at the Horsham DSE lab – for the grasslands on the edge of Melbourne. Photo Alex Smart.
What will be the result of the dismissal of DSE and DPI officers in recent months?
Loss of experienced officers contribute to scientific amnesia. Results of long-term monitoring are crucial to virtually all threatened species conservation programs. Effective monitoring programs combine scientific rigour, meticulous record keeping and effective sharing of results in recognised forums. It is a skill-set that takes years to develop and will need to be redeveloped under a future government that recognizes the state’s moral and legal obligations to biodiversity conservation. What a waste.
Dianella being planted at Laverton Grasslands as a bee food, including the bee that pollinates the Diuris fragrantissima. Photo Alex Smart.
Lost support for the volunteers: the expertise and consistency of these officers supported and orchestrated volunteers who give massively of their time and energy. This ‘multiplier effect’ is apparently unrecognised by the recent cuts.
We have been repeatedly assured these cuts will not effect ‘front-line workers’. For Victoria’s flora and fauna, the threatened species officers are the ‘front line’ workers. Job losses are tragic for individuals but for endangered flora and fauna, such chopping and changing can be terminal. Many species now rely on consistent effort to maintain and recover their habitats.
Caladenia fulva Tawny Spider-orchid, which is endangered at the National and State Level, and is listed under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, being grown at the Horsham DSE Lab. Photo Len Carrigan.
Threatened species projects inspire hope and care for our environment’s future. The genuine gains these projects achieve energise the public in the face of seemingly endless news of ecological decline.
IFFA members are intensely concerned about these changes and related ones such as the starvation of our reserve system. The impact of neglected weed control programs on public land is a perennial issue of particular concern to rural landholders conservationists alike. Cuts at DSE and DPI will starve weed programs. Timely and consistent treatment is essential in weed programs. Delay can lead to vastly increased expenditure a few years down the track. This is summed up in the old adage that ‘one years seeds equals seven years weeds’ and these short-sighted cuts are sowing the seeds for years of ‘catch up’.
If you disagree with the direction this government is taking, what can you do?
Here’s a few suggestions.
- Identify and record the details on the impact of these cuts on your local environment, local parks and volunteer groups.
- Make sure your local member knows that you are unhappy with this direction and demand a response. Is the case ‘newsworthy’? Perhaps you might ring up or write to your favourite newspaper.
- Support and become active in those groups addressing this issue.
- Where these programs impact Nationally listed species and communities, make sure your Federal member hears about it as well as the Federal Minister for the environment, Tony Burke.
- If you have worked with any staff that have been let go, ensure they know that their contribution has been valued.
- Identify your allies, they may be found in unexpected places. Many businesses involved in land management will suffer from the lost support for their industry these cuts represent.
Finally, remember to ‘nourish the soul’. Find time to be in nature and with friends. Strengthen yourself for your sake and for the sake of the environment you are working to protect.
- Brian Bainbridge, President.
Further information: http://www.iffa.org.au/backwards-spiral-continues-baillieu-government-ax...
Caladenia xanthochila, Yellow-lip Spider-orchidwhich is endangered at the National and State Level, and is listed under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, being grown at the Horsham DSE Lab. Photo Len Carrigan.
Pterostylis xerophila , Desert Rustyhood, which is vulnerable at the National level and endangered at the State Level, and is listed under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, being grown at the Horsham DSE Lab.. Photo Len Carrigan.
Caladenia hastata , Mellblom’s Spider-orchid, which is endangered at the National and State Level, and is listed under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, being grown at the Horsham DSE Lab. Photo Len Carrigan.