A fantasy, and a dose of reality

One day we might see a big headline in all the Murdoch media: ‘Biodiversity: worth fighting for!’

Until then, we’ll have to be content with a small item in the mainstream media, and things like the following:

‘Victoria’s biodiversity provides the foundations of healthy ecosystems, such as clean air and water, productive soils, natural pest control, pollination and flood mitigation. Threatened species and their habitats are critical to our biodiversity.’

That’s from the Victorian Auditor General’s report Protecting Victoria’s biodiversity, released last week. You can find the 75 page document here.

It makes pretty grim reading. Practically every page contains findings like this:

‘DELWP cannot demonstrate if, or how well, it is halting further decline in Victoria’s threatened species populations.’


‘DELWP advised us that it cannot guarantee the protection of all threatened species given:

  • current funding levels
  • scientific constraints around how species respond to threats and actions to control these in the wild, particularly in a time of climate change
  • the long-term lag effects on Victoria’s biodiversity of over 200 years of colonisation.’

DELWP has accepted all the auditor general’s recommendations, though it’s a bit defensive about funding. Parks Victoria’s response to the review is as follows:

‘Parks Victoria agrees with the Auditor General’s characterisation of both the problems being experienced by Victorian biodiversity and the urgent need for significantly increased focus and resourcing to better address these large and real challenges.’ (FOBIF emphasis)

Is that a political statement? Of course resourcing and focus are what matters: one without the other won’t work. Funding is a matter for governing parties. Focus comes from the culture of the organisations themselves. We know there are plenty of people inside DELWP and Parks Victoria who do have the values of nature at heart. Are there enough?

The AG’s report made a bit of a splash in the media last week. Will it have an effect? Maybe that depends on the number of people who read it, and draw the attention of their MP to it. Have a go.

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