The Federal Government’s announcement of $50million to wildlife affected by the bushfire crisis is nowhere near enough and should be at least ten times as much, the Greens say.
Greens Spokesperson for the Environment Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said with more than a billion native animals reportedly impacted and killed in the catastrophic fires across the country and millions of hectares of habitat burnt, $50million won’t go far.
“When Celeste Barber can raise as much money as the Federal Government has committed to this tragedy, it shows their heart’s not in it,” she said.
“This is an environmental catastrophe and saving, restoring and protecting our wildlife and their habitats must be a fundamental part of the recovery from these bushfires.
“I saw first-hand on Kangaroo Island last week, what wildlife carers and conservationists are going through, they deserve and need far more support.
“This can’t just be a fluffy PR exercise from the Environment Minister because the whole world is talking about Australia’s koalas being burnt and killed.
“Our beautiful environment and wildlife is what makes Australia the place people want to come and visit, it deserves more than this token announcement.
“The Greens called for a Fighting Fund for the Environment and this is not it - this is petty cash. We need significantly more money and a proper commitment from the Government to the restoration of the environment and ecosystems, or we may just lose some of our precious wildlife and flora for good.
“The PM should also be leading from the front on this issue yet seems to be in hiding today. Bad news poll or not, restoring the environment and habitat, and protecting our native animals should be more of a priority for this PM.”
Greens Spokesperson for Animals Senator Mehreen Faruqi said:
“The Government is taking a miserly approach to our iconic wildlife.
“We need an open chequebook and the Government to commit to spending whatever it takes to save lives and to fund a viable recovery for species that have been impacted. This is a bandaid solution, we need funding for long term rehabilitation and recovery plans.
“Animals are in crisis. Wildlife carers are on social media begging for bandages, syringes and animal feed. The Government has been slow to support these heroes and they need money in their bank accounts and supplies on their shelves today.
“Fifty million across the entire country is just a drop in the ocean. We have seen at least a billion animals die and that number will rapidly increase as wildlife face starvation from destroyed ecosystems.
“We have seen so many Australians and people around the world open their hearts and wallets to support animals with unprecedented generosity. The Government should follow that example instead of clutching at purse strings.”