House of Representatives Committees

| House of Representatives Standing Committee on Climate Change, Environment and the Arts

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Preliminary pages


Since the June 2011 referral of this inquiry into Australia’s biodiversity in a changing climate, the Committee has engaged in an extensive evidence-gathering process to adequately address the broad terms of reference. The Committee has travelled around the country to ensure a broad representation of issues relevant across Australia, inspecting many ecosystems of national importance and visiting research and other facilities relevant to the inquiry’s terms of reference. I am pleased to note that the Committee has conducted inquiry activities, including site inspections, briefings and public hearings, in each of Australia’s states and territories.

Although the Committee has completed its formal program of interstate site inspections, it continues to gather evidence to the inquiry through briefings and hearings. This second interim report is therefore intended to provide an update on the progress of inquiry and the important themes canvassed during site inspections since the Committee’s last report to the Parliament in May 2012.

Following on from the first interim report, which covered the first half of the Committee’s site inspections, this second interim report discusses the issues explored by the Committee during its inspections in Victoria, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland.

Throughout the site inspection program, the Committee has been struck by the vast range of ecosystem types that exist in Australia, including those in terrestrial, marine and freshwater environments. The diversity of ecosystems has highlighted the different challenges facing natural resource managers across the country.

At the same time, however, the site inspections have also reinforced the fact that there are many challenges common to biodiversity conservation across the country. The threats that climate change poses—including changes in temperature, rainfall patterns, and sea levels—are likely to have implications for the way biodiversity is managed in all ecosystem types, albeit to varying extents and with different results. The uncertainty associated with the impacts of climate changes is also a common challenge for natural resource managers and policy makers across the country, perhaps signalling the need for a new approach to natural resource management in an unpredictable climate.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to place on record my thanks to all of the local experts who met with and briefed the Committee during the site inspection program, and to all those who facilitated the Committee’s visits. I also appreciate the cooperation of my fellow Committee members and acknowledge the significant commitments they and the committee secretariat have made in engaging in this important site inspection program.

Tony Zappia MP


Membership of the Committee


Mr Tony Zappia MP


Deputy Chair

Dr Mal Washer MP



Ms Jill Hall MP

Mr Wyatt Roy MP


Mr Harry Jenkins MP

Mr Kelvin Thomson MP


Ms Nola Marino MP



Committee Secretariat


Ms Julia Morris

Inquiry Secretary

Ms Peggy Danaee

Senior Research Officers

Ms Susan Dinon (from 28/5/12)


Mr James Nelson (to 25/5/12)

Administrative Officers Mr Peter Pullen
  Ms Jessica Hargreaves (from 9/8/12)

Terms of reference

The Committee will inquire into and report on biodiversity in a changing climate, in relation to nationally important ecosystems. The inquiry will have particular regard to:

The scope of the committee’s inquiry shall include some case studies of ‘nationally important ecosystems’, as defined by submissions to the inquiry.

List of abbreviations


Australian Institute of Marine Science


Community Advisory Panel


Climate Change, Environment and the Arts


Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth


Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation


Department for Environment and Heritage (SA)


Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (SA)


Deoxyribonucleic acid


Daintree Rainforest Observatory


Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities


El Niño–Southern Oscillation


Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority


Indigenous Employment Program


James Cook University


Kakadu National Park

KNYA Kungun Ngarrindjeri Yunnan Agreement (Agreement between the Ngarrindjeri people and the Government of South Australia)
KRAC Kakadu Research Advisory Committee
LED Light-emitting diode
Lower Lakes Lakes Alexandrina and Albert
NERP National Environmental Research Program
NRA Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority
OZCAM Online Zoological Collections of Australian Museums
Ramsar The Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
REDMAP Range Extension Database and Mapping Project
Reef HQ Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium
UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
WTMA Wet Tropics Management Authority

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