Environment

Australian conservationists warn UNESCO of 'alarming moves' to weaken environmental protections

Summer bushfires slashed koala population by 70 per cent in some northern NSW areas, according to one study. Source: The University of Sydney

Thirteen conservation groups have written to UNESCO warning of Australia's moves to weaken the nation's environmental protections.

Australian conservation groups have written to the director-general of UNESCO warning of the Australian government's "alarming moves" to weaken the nation's environmental protections.

Last week the Morrison government rammed through controversial environmental laws that pave the way for states to take over approvals to standards that have yet to be developed.

In the letter to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation Director-General Audrey Azouley, the 13 groups argue as a ratified signatory to the World Heritage Convention, the government has a responsibility to identify, protect, and conserve world heritage sites.

Tasmanian Wilderness
The Tasmanian Wilderness provides critical habitat for a range of native animals that are vulnerable to extinction.
Wikipedia

These include the Great Barrier Reef, the Gondwana Rainforests, the Ningaloo Coast, the Tasmanian Wilderness and the Wet Tropics.

"Australia's World Heritage Areas are important homes for threatened wildlife like the koala, the cassowary and the grey-headed flying fox," Australian Conservation Foundation CEO, Kelly O'Shanassy said.

"But the plan to hand environmental powers to states and territories would make these species and their habitats more vulnerable than ever."

Australian Conservation Foundation CEO Kelly O'Shanass
Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive Kelly O'Shanassy.
SBS

Environmental Justice Australia co-CEO, Nicola Rivers, said weakening legal protection for these areas would be an international shame for Australia.

"(It would) send a shocking message that one of the wealthiest nations can't manage to safeguard its 20 World Heritage sites," Environmental Justice Australia co-CEO, Nicola Rivers said.

The letter is signed by:

Australian Conservation Foundation

Australian Marine Conservation Society

Birdlife Australia

Bob Brown Foundation

Colong Foundation for Wilderness

Environmental Justice Australia

Fight For Our Reef

Humane Society International Australia

Protect Ningaloo

Queensland Conservation Council

Tasmanian Conservation Trust

Wilderness Society

WWF Australia.

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