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A national approach to endangered species

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M in is te r fo r T h e A rts , S p o rt, T h e E n v iro n m e n t and T e rrito rie s

Ros Kelly


National coordination of efforts to conserve endangered species took a step forward today with the release of a national strategy by Ros Kelly, Minister for the Arts, Sport, the Environment and Territories.

An Australian National Strategy for the Conservation of Species and Communities Threatened with Extinction was prepared by the Endangered Species Advisory Committee (ESAC) after considering extensive comments on an earlier draft which was released in 1989.

A coordinated complementary approach by the States, Territories and the Commonwealth is best for endangered species and the strategy makes a significant contribution to this' Mrs Kelly said.

'All States and Territories recognise the need for continued development of a national approach on endangered species. Under the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment, the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) is to develop and report within one year on a national approach for the protection of vulnerable and endangered species.

Ί welcome publication of ESAC's revised strategy at this time because it is a key input to the national approach being developed by ANZECC' said Mrs Kelly.

'Extinctions of Australian species have been all too frequent. Fifty percent of all the mammal species that have become extinct world-wide in the last two hundred years were in Australia. Today, some 111 species of animals and over 800 species of plants are considered endangered or vulnerable nationally.

‘Some ecological communities have also dwindled to near extinction. Our temperate grasslands for instance have been almost completely changed by agriculture and urban development.

'Most Australian native species and ecological communities are unique to our country. This gives us a special responsibility to conserve them. The challenge facing us is to ensure that, while we meet our material needs, basic evolutionary processes are maintained and we do not jeopardise the survival of our fascinating and valuable wildlife' Mrs Kelly said.

Further information: John Hicks (Endangered Species Unit, Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, ph 06 2500280) Judy Lambert (Minister's Office, ph 06 2777649)


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