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Koalas and Fraser Island burned – climate will take Australia's treasures

Media Release
Adam Bandt 7 Dec 2020

The Australian Greens have warned that the government’s climate inaction is pouring fuel on fires incinerating our country’s iconic animals, landscapes, and flora, amid news that tens of thousands of koalas died during last season’s bushfires, and as an uncontrolled bushfire tears through an untouched world heritage rainforest. 

Greens Environment spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young will this week move a ‘Save the Koala Bill’ to protect the habitat of Australia’s most iconic tree-hugger, in a bid to stave off extinction.

“Today Australia is watching one of our national treasures burn. The Fraser Island fire comes on the back of record-breaking temperatures and is a further harbinger of the climate emergency that we face,” Greens Leader, Adam Bandt said.

“Scott Morrison should be ashamed of the coal-fuelled destruction being wreaked on his watch. While the nation was burning last year he left for Hawaii, and now that it’s happening again, the best he can do is vow not to cheat on his climate commitments. 

“In just five days Australia will have to front up to a UN hosted climate summit demanding greater ambition to reduce emissions. While other nations are doubling and tripling their ambition, all Scott Morrison is vowing is not to cook the books, and our nation’s precious wildlife is paying the price for his inaction. 

“This constant cycle of destruction will become the norm unless Scott Morrison stops dragging his feet on climate action. If we don’t want to have billions of our animals burnt every summer, we need to rapidly transition off coal, oil and gas,” Bandt said.

Greens Environment Spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said:

“The Greens will this week move to introduce a Save the Koala Bill to prevent further decimation of precious habitat and to help ensure our wildlife have a place to call home.

“The Bill will legislate a moratorium on clearing of critical koala habitat which is absolutely vital to saving the species.

“After the devastation of the 2019-20 climate fires which burnt through 12 million hectares of primarily forest and woodland, the Morrison Government should not be approving any further land clearing.

“The WWF report released today confirms our worst fears about the incomprehensible number of wildlife killed in the 2019-20 climate fires.

“Included in the three billion native species impacted by the fires is more than 60,000 koalas, with some of the worst losses on Kangaroo Island in South Australia.

“In NSW where koalas will be extinct by 2050 without urgent action to save them, 8,000 of our iconic species were killed or injured.

“Fires are now already burning across the country, including on Fraser Island a World Heritage Site.

“We are facing another devastating summer for our environment and wildlife, yet the Environment Minister is nowhere to be seen.

“The Minister is missing in action. Where is she? What is the plan for protecting our wildlife this summer?”

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