The Senate has unanimously passed an Australian Greens' motion calling for urgent federal funding for cassowary conservation and rehabilitation.
Queensland Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens Deputy Leader and environment spokesperson, said:
"We're pleased that all Senators supported the Greens' motion, and that in response to the motion the federal government said it would write to the state government about funding.
"We will pursue the Environment Minister to ensure that more than just letters are exchanged, and federal funding actually is provided to the Garners Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre.
"The federal and state governments need to urgently work together to save this magnificent endangered species from extinction.
"While the state government has provided some short-term funding for Garners Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre, it's only enough to care for chicks, which could still leave adults to be euthanased.
"Not only is funding for rehabilitation desperately needed but governments must work on preventing cassowary injuries in the first place.
"Vehicle strikes, dog attacks and habitat loss, especially from land clearing, all need to addressed with funding under the recovery plan.
"It's incredibly disappointing that Palaszczuk Government has so far failed to restore the protection from land clearing that was gutted under the Newman Government.
"We have a duty to protect the cassowary for its intrinsic value and this iconic species is also an important tourism drawcard," Senator Waters said.
Text of motion:
Cassowary protection in Queensland
1. Notes the fact that southern cassowary is listed as Endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and that estimates of the remaining population range from 1000 to 4000 individuals.
2. Notes the Recovery plan for the southern cassowary published in 2007 which estimated a total cost for recovery of the southern cassowary of $994,000 over five years, including $50,000 for a cassowary rescue program.
3. Calls on the federal government to urgently update the Recovery Plan and ensure that it is implemented, including by prioritising habitat protection and restoration, allocating adequate funding for reducing vehicle strikes, protection from predation by dogs, rehabilitation, and protection from other threats.
4. Funding uncertainty surrounding the Garners Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre, which has reportedly seen local vets instructed to euthanase injured adult cassowaries and their then-orphaned chicks, rather than sending them for care in the Centre.
5. Calls on the federal government to work with the state government and urgently consider providing federal funding to allow the Garners Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre to remain open to rehabilitate orphan cassowary chicks and to expand its operations to enable injured adult cassowaries to be cared for.