WA Auditor-General Criticises DEC Conservation Programs

To: Birding-aus <>
Subject: WA Auditor-General Criticises DEC Conservation Programs
From: John Leonard <>
Date: Thu, 11 Jun 2009 07:28:50 +1000
Perhaps the Auditor-General should have criticised the WA government
for not spending enough on conservation. There's not much you cn do
with inadequate resources.

John Leonard

2009/6/10 Carl Clifford <>:
> $8.2 million spent on threatened species! That must be nearly as much as
> spent on politicians in W.A. I suppose most pollies should be regarded as
> potentially threatened species, though in most cases not threatened enough.
> Carl Clifford
> On 10/06/2009, at 8:57 PM, L&L Knight wrote:
> Background
> Western Australia (WA) is globally significant for its biodiversity, of both
> flora (plants) and fauna (animals). WA has over half of Australia’s
> biodiversity hotspots and the South West is internationally recognised for
> its biodiversity. In 2008 there were 601 species listed as threatened in WA.
> The Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) is the primary agency
> responsible for conserving this biodiversity. DEC estimates that in 2007-08,
> it spent $8.2 million directly on threatened species activities, including
> evaluating the conservation status of species, developing and implementing
> recovery plans, monitoring species, and managing data.
> DEC has other areas of activity which influence the conservation of
> threatened species. For example, creating reserves protects threatened
> species’ habitat. DEC’s nature conservation programs can also address
> processes that pose risks to threatened species. DEC’s programs to manage
> dieback and salinity are an example of this. These programs are not targeted
> at threatened species directly, but contribute to their conservation.
> We focused on whether DEC is effectively protecting and recovering
> threatened species; whether it has clear strategies, plans, policies and
> procedures in place to support threatened species conservation activities,
> and whether those activities are conducted in line with relevant
> legislation, plans, policies and procedures. We included terrestrial
> threatened species and excluded marine species.
> Examination conclusion…
> In many areas DEC is not effectively protecting and recovering threatened
> species. The number of threatened species is rising and only a few species
> are improving. Recovery action is not happening for most threatened species.
> The majority of resources and effort are allocated to critically endangered
> species, placing vulnerable and endangered species at risk of further
> decline.
> DEC has some successful programs to address broad scale threats to multiple
> species, but in other areas that underpin conservation, such as habitat
> protection, DEC is facing significant challenges.
> DEC cannot demonstrate the overall effectiveness of its threatened species
> conservation activities. This limits assurance that it has effective
> management and conservation processes and programs to ensure the protection
> and recovery of WA’s threatened species.
> Much of DEC’s threatened species activities are not enabled by existing
> legislation and DEC has created policies to cover these gaps. The Wildlife
> Conservation Act 1950 does not provide species with adequate protection.
> What the examination found...
>        • 601 species in WA are listed as threatened with extinction and this
> number is increasing. Only a handful of species are improving.
>        • Only one in five threatened fauna and less than half of threatened
> flora have a recovery plan, while full implementation of the plans that are
> in place often does not occur. Without a recovery plan, the needs of
> threatened species may not be identified and addressed.
>        • Multi-species approaches to conservation are an effective response
> to the growing number of threatened species. DEC has a number of
> multi-species programs.
>        • Creating reserves is a key habitat conservation mechanism, but less
> than half the amount of land agreed under the national target has been
> reserved in WA. On average, it takes a decade for acquired land to become a
> reserve.
>        • DEC cannot demonstrate the effectiveness of its threatened species
> conservation activities for all threatened species.
>        • Since 1987 DEC and its predecessor agencies have sought to replace
> the 1950 Wildlife Conservation Act with new legislation that would provide
> greater support for conserving biodiversity.
> What the examination recommended...
> DEC should:
>        • consider changing how it prioritises species for conservation
> attention to ensure existing resources are used to maximum long-term effect
>        • continue to identify and acquire land of conservation value and
> work with other agencies to achieve reservation more quickly
>        • implement an evaluation framework and supporting systems to assist
> in measuring threatened species conservation effectiveness
>        • continue its efforts to replace the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950
> with a new Biodiversity Conservation Act.
> Click here for the Full Report in Adobe PDF (251kb
> PDF)
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John Leonard

"I rejoice that there are owls." Thoreau

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