Government adds 49 species to threatened and endangered list

Brush-tailed Bettong Source: AAP

Almost 50 species of flora and fauna were added to the national threatened-species list on Thursday, leaving animal activists asking what the government is doing to reduce the problem.

The federal government quietly added 49 species of flora and fauna to the national threatened species list on Thursday, including nine that are critically endangered.

Species added as part of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act were the three-toed snake-tooth skink, swift parrot and several types of orchid and albatross.

Australian Conservation Foundation campaigner Jess Abrahams told the Guardian that the 49 species were added without notice from the Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt.

“Normally they’ll put out a press release and talk about all the great work they’re doing to turn this around. This time it just slipped out,” he said.

Mr Abrahams said commercial activities and habitat loss contributed to the animals becoming endangered.

He also noted that no new funding had been put towards the existing threatened species strategy in Tuesday's federal budget.

“What hope is there? ... The logging continues, the habitat loss continues – it’s no surprise that the species ends up on the threatened species list,” he said.

Abrahams said there was a contradiction between the Mr Hunt's stated aim of protecting threatened species and the government-approved destruction of their habitat.

“There’s this incredible hypocrisy," he said.

“The government wants to make a difference on endangered species, but it’s not prepared to spend any money, it’s not prepared to use the law or make new laws to protect them – it won’t even acknowledge that more species are being added to the list each day. 

“The fundamental reason that species are threatened is because their habitat is destroyed, and that’s the thing that we can most easily, most directly do something about.”

SBS contacted Mr Hunt's office for comment.

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