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Inquiry into Ecosystem Decline in Victoria report

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Samantha Ratnam
Leader of the Victorian Greens
2 December 2021

I too rise to speak to this really fantastic report, a report from the Environment and Planning Committee into biodiversity loss and the extinction crisis that our state faces. I want to thank firstly the committee and the secretariat for all their incredible work, particularly Michael, Alice, Sam, Cat and Holly, who I felt really poured their heart and soul into this report, because it is reflected in the quality and depth and breadth of the report before you. I am particularly proud that this was the result of a Greens motion before this place, and I thank everyone in this place for supporting that motion, because what we have seen is that this inquiry was absolutely urgent and absolutely necessary if we are going to halt the decline of biodiversity in our state.

We found throughout this extensive inquiry that there are significant and consistent drivers of biodiversity loss and extinction. They are climate change, habitat loss, invasive species, weak and inadequate laws and regulations and enforcement around our biodiversity and a lack of government and consistent funding. What we also found was that there are things that we can do to halt this rapid decline of biodiversity in Victoria. We found through the course of our inquiry that there are nearly 2000 species now on the threatened list in Victoria. This is completely unacceptable, and there is no doubt that we are in an extinction crisis. It saddens me to think that my daughter will grow up in a world without the richness in plant and animal life and biodiversity that we have been able to enjoy and humans have been able to enjoy for thousands of years. Our plant and animal life have an equal and important place on this earth, and in fact our survival—the survival of humans—depends on it. We cannot survive without our natural environment.

I am proud of the work that the Greens have done. It is core to what we want to achieve in this Parliament, and I hope that we will be able to heed the recommendations and act urgently to halt the extinction crisis that Victoria faces.

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Samantha Ratnam
Leader of the Victorian Greens
2 December 2021
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