Minority Report – Nola Marino MHR – Member for Forrest
The Standing Committee on Climate Change, Environment and
the Arts in its inquiry into “Australia's biodiversity in a changing climate”
was presented with a range of information that outlined the various local
approaches to manage the impact of climate change on local environments.
The good work of a range of local stakeholders is to be
acknowledged and applauded, and this is recognized in the majority report.
Climate change policy is rightly divided into climate change
mitigation and climate change adaptation. Climate change mitigation refers to
attempts to limit climate change and its impacts, and has been the focus of
activity at the national and international level.
However whilst there are good examples of localized action
on preparing for the effects of climate change and the development of
adaptation strategies, there is a completely inadequate national response in
the same area. I believe we need a national approach to climate change adaptation.
1. The need to focus on
climate change adaptation.
There must be a considerable focus on climate change
adaptation, which in my opinion has not received adequate attention to date.
The current national agenda of climate change mitigation has
completely dwarfed the policy and action on climate change adaptation. This
cannot continue if Australia is to adequately manage the effects of climate
change into the future.
Climate change adaptation has been under-prioritised in
Australia’s climate change response. The decision to remove support for the
National Climate Change Adaptation research Facility is regrettable and should
Given current world wide emissions growth projections
climate change adaptation must be given higher priority.
2. The need to greater
engage the Natural Resource Management system in a nationally coordinated
climate change adaptation plan.
As evidenced by the Committee in its interim reports, there
is a range of at risk ecosystems for which the current management response to
changing climate is inadequate.
The current Federal Government vehicle for local
environmental action that engages local communities in that action is the
Natural Resource Management program. This program was introduced by the Howard
Government and under a range of names has been supported by all recent
The good climate adaptation work at a local level should be
part of a nation-wide plan, whose ultimate goal would be to future proof
vulnerable Australian ecosystems and species against the impacts of climate
A national stock-take of vulnerable and at risk ecosystems
is vital. An adequate response to those risks is even more so.
This program needs to be focused on delivering climate
change adaptation and preparedness strategies that are coordinated at a
That climate change preparation and adaptation is made a
primary objective of the national Natural Resource Management agenda.
3. The need to develop
proper accountability for invasive species control for land managers.
The majority report of the Committee identifies that weed
control is not a success story for land managers across Australia.
This repetitive failure to control invasive weed species
must be addressed.
In the South West of Western Australia the long term drying
trend was clearly identified as a threat to biodiversity, especially in native
jarrah and karri forests. This threat is exacerbated by Phytophthora dieback
and the invasion of weed and pest species.
Changing rainfall patterns and invasive species are also
having detrimental impacts in the Tasmanian Midlands, and New South Wales Snowy
Invasive plant and animal species are also major threats to
Kakadu in the Northern Territory.
The feral horse population in the New South Wales Snowy
River region is a matter of great urgency that needs to be resolved.
The current systems in place at a state and federal level,
including those within the Natural Resource Management program, have not been
able to address these issues.
The requirement to control invasive species currently exists
in the legislation of most jurisdictions, but needs to be used to greater
effect. Because of this few invasive species are actually eliminated or
properly controlled. Most simply move down classification lists from required
control, via attempted control, to an acknowledgement that they have become
The response in Australia to the threat to biodiversity of
changing weather patterns and invasive plants, animals and disease has been
Include on the COAG agenda the need for the Commonwealth and
State Governments to prioritise the containment and/or elimination of invasive
species, and that land managers including public entities be required to
control identified and targeted invasive species on their lands.
Ms Nola Marino MHR
Member for Forrest