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Tuesday, 16 November 2004
Page: 132

Senator Brown asked the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, upon notice, on 30 August 2004:

With reference to the Epacris stuartii:

(1) What is the current status of the Epacris stuartii.

(2) When was it identified as an endangered species.

(3) What is its range.

(4) What are the Government's responsibilities under the convention for the protection of biodiversity in relation to the Epacris stuartii.

(5) Is there a ratified management plan and recovery plan in place for the Epacris stuartii; if not, why not.

(6) What are the major threats to the Epacris stuartii.

(7) When will the Government ratify and implement a management and recovery plan for the Epacris stuartii.

Senator Ian Campbell (Minister for the Environment and Heritage) —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) Critically endangered.

(2) Listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Protection Act on 30 June 1992. Subsequently listed as critically endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) on 16 October 2001.

(3) Epacris stuartii is restricted to 0.3 ha of heathland near Southport, south-east Tasmania. An ex-situ population has been established on Southport Island.

(4) Under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, Parties are required to:

“Develop national strategies, plans or programmes for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, or adapt for this purpose existing strategies, plans or programmes which shall reflect, inter alia, the measures set out in this Convention relevant to the Contracting Party concerned.”

The conservation provisions within the EPBC Act exceed the standards set by Convention's guidelines and program elements in relation to biodiversity conservation.

(5) The `Recovery Plan for Epacris stuartii 1996-2005' was adopted under the EPBC Act on 9 March 2001.

(6) The major threats are: Phytophthora cinnamomi, high frequency fires, fires followed by drought; and extreme storm events.

(7) See Question 5 above.