Garrett concedes: extinction inevitable

To: "'Graham Turner'" <>, "'Baus'" <>
Subject: Garrett concedes: extinction inevitable
From: "Stephen Ambrose" <>
Date: Wed, 19 Aug 2009 14:44:48 +1000
Peter Garrett was also interviewed about this on the 7.30 Report (ABC TV)
last night. The podcast can be viewed at It is a good
interview, lasting about 11 minutes.

Stephen Ambrose
Ryde, NSW

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Graham Turner
Sent: Wednesday, 19 August 2009 12:26 PM
To: Baus
Subject: Garrett concedes: extinction inevitable

G'day Birders, 
this was in the news yesterday. It actually seems to make sense to me,
rather than an admission of defeat.

Graham Turner

Full text below

Garrett concedes: extinction inevitable
Tom Arup, Environment Correspondent
August 18, 2009 
THE Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, has warned that money to save
endangered wildlife is limited and some species may have to be abandoned
when funding decisions are made.

In one of the strongest speeches of his ministerial career he told an
international conference of ecologists in Brisbane that the Government will
shift its focus to protecting ''ecosystems'', rather than putting money into
individual projects for endangered animals.

Mr Garrett's speech follows a report by the Department of Climate Change
that found global warming would severely threaten many native species.

Mr Garrett said the current system of funding on an animal-by-animal basis
was the equivalent of paramedics waiting at the bottom of a hill performing
''triage'' on those who fall down.

''Australia has 1750 species now on the threatened list,'' he said. ''And
while . we will have to act in an urgent way from time to time to prevent
their extinction, it won't always be effective to keep tackling them one by

Mr Garrett has already signalled his intentions with substantial budget
injections to the national reserves system and new marine conservation

At present Australia registers species on endangered lists based on the
advice of the Threatened Species Scientific Committee. The minister then
decides whether he will fund a ''recovery program'' for that species based
on its chance of success.

Mr Garrett discussed his recent decision to fund a recovery program for an
endangered bat on Christmas Island and whether he could afford to spend the
money given the animal's low chance of recovery.

He asked the scientists to help policy makers and the community ''understand
what is required in terms of public policy, resources and priorities''. He
said his new approach was one of a ''clear-sighted pragmatist''.

Mr Garrett also pre-empted claims of future budget constraints on
environmental spending by saying the financial crisis was the best time to
address such issues because he was ''sufficiently aware that our wellbeing
is inextricably linked to the health of our natural ecosystems''.

Averil Bones, policy director for the WWF, said moving to a broader
protection program would require more money in next year's budget. She said
Australia could not protect only existing ecosystems as most were under
severe threat, and the environment had to be restored through revegetation
programs and species protection.

Phil Gibbons, a senior fellow at the ANU's Fenner School of Environment and
Society, said focusing on ecosystems was the most cost-effective approach to
saving animals. But he said Mr Garrett had recently spent large amounts on
programs for politically popular animals, including $10 million to help save
the Tasmanian devil.

Mr Gibbons added that Mr Garrett and the Rudd Government had not yet been
prepared to have a debate about ''the links between economic growth and the
damage we are doing to our natural ecosystems''.

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