Allowing big miners to destroy invaluable seagrass beds in return for investing in the protection of others is a sure-fire way to guarantee Australia’s continuing decline in marine environments and wildlife, the Australian Greens said today.
“Protecting economically worthless seagrass beds is very nice, but shouldn’t be confused with actual environmental protection,” Australian Greens environment spokesperson, Senator Larissa Waters, said.
“These offsets are like being allowed to trash the Eiffel Tower because you’ve donated to the upkeep of the Taj Mahal.
“Threatened dugongs depend on local seagrass meadows as their primary food source - it’s ridiculous to pretend these and other marine animals will be able to relocate hundreds or thousands of kilometres to other seagrass beds already supporting their own marine population.
“Only this morning, a new report from CSIRO has highlighted the sensitivity of our environment and ecosystems to the dangers of climate change, and the number of threatened species has nearly tripled in the last twenty years.
“We’re all heartsick at the growing numbers of starving and dying turtles and dugongs washing up onshore. Tony Burke isn’t going to help this situation by behaving like a dodgy accountant instead of an Environment Minister.
“Tony Burke has the power to simply step up and protect all invaluable seagrass beds, whether they’re in the path of mass coal and gas exports or not – it’s time he did so and stopped playing numbers with Australia’s environment.”