Greens Spokesperson for the Environment Senator Sarah Hanson-Young responded to the Federal Government’s announcement of $150million for Bushfire Recovery for Species and Landscapes:
“This announcement is much more about trying to win a by-election than anything to do with helping the environment and wildlife.
“If the Government cared a bit more about protecting koalas than they do protecting their seats in parliament, we might have faith they have a plan for bushfire recovery.
“Environmental recovery after the catastrophic bushfires was always going to need much more than $50m and the government flagged more was coming, but this still isn’t enough. The Greens called for a $500m fighting fund for the environment in January when the fires were still burning, when we already knew more than a million animals had been lost and millions of hectares of habitat destroyed, yet it’s taken four months to get more than $50m.
“$50m was never going to cut it and $150m more now still won’t be enough especially when the government is going to allow more damage to the environment with salvage logging and cut to environmental protections.
“The Federal Government announced yesterday the bushfire recovery funding includes $15m for transporting salvaged logs. This is despite the science clearly showing salvage logging will be devastating to bushfire affected areas causing further disturbance to these ecosystems and hampering regeneration and recovery.
“So on the one hand the government says it is putting more money on the table for the environment but on the other hand, they are supporting salvage logging and planning to cut environmental protections.
“Attempting to win elections by suddenly remembering forgotten bushfire communities won’t fly. Australians care about the environment more than ever and they want it protected, not trashed in favour of the government’s big business mates.
“The Environment Minister should take another look at the policy and start doing the right thing by our native wildlife and environment before we’ve lost even more of it.”