Beak Speak


 On the Way to Extinction

Friday, March 23, 2018

Carnaby’s Black- Cockatoo, Regent Honeyeater and Swift Parrot on Path to Extinction

BirdLife Australia has today released a new report, Restoring the Balance: The case for a new generation of Australian Environmental Laws highlighting how Australia’s environment laws are failing Australia’s best-loved birds.

“The unique and beloved Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo, Swift Parrot and Southern Black-throated Finch are all in trouble. Our national laws are pushing these and many other species further towards extinction.  This report clearly shows that Australia’s environment laws are inherently weak. They’re failing to protect the birds and places we love,” said Dr Jenny Lau, BirdLife Australia’s Acting Head of Conservation.

“The already globally endangered Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo continues to decline in the Perth region. This population is on the path to extinction because our current legal framework allows broad-scale clearing of its habitat.

“State and federal governments are not enforcing the protections that do exist.  While they buck pass amongst themselves, environmental protections that could be used are regularly signed away at the expense of threatened birds.  This new report highlights numerous examples of the inadequacy of Australia’s current environment laws.

“State governments that are responsible for ensuring compliance with federal environment laws are simply not doing so. Approved projects are rarely checked to determine whether they are compliant with environmental conditions.  

“One stark example is the 772 applications for development that impact the Southern Black-throated Finch.  Most of those applications were approved without consideration of the cumulative impact on our finches.  Decisions to approve developments that destroy habitat are being made in isolation from one another and as a result the Southern Black-throated Finch is now headed for extinction.

“We release this report ahead of the Better Laws for a Better Planet Symposium being hosted by the Australian Panel of Experts on Environmental Law, National Environmental Law Association, IUCN National Committee Australia and Places You Love Alliance in Canberra on 27 March 2018.

“Once common birds like the Swift Parrot, Regent Honeyeater and Eastern Curlew are now critically endangered.  The Turnbull Government must urgently reform our national environment laws and ensure they are properly upheld,” said Dr Lau.


Clear-felling of Critically Endangered Swift Parrot breeding habitat.
Mines approved across irreplaceable Endangered Southern Black-throated Finch habitat.
Property developers to propose resorts within the boundaries of a Ramsar site that provides internationally important habitat for Critically Endangered Eastern Curlews.
Woodlands likely to be crucial to the recovery of the Critically Endangered Regent Honeyeater to be destroyed for an industrial estate that could easily be located elsewhere.  
Planned burning of Endangered South-eastern Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo food trees.

Dr Jenny Lau (available for comment)

Dr Jenny Lau is BirdLife Australia's Preventing Extinctions Program Leader.   Jenny has more than a decade of experience advocating for better conservation outcomes for Australia's birds. She has expertise in the conservation of threatened mallee birds, in particular the globally endangered Mallee Emu-wren, and on the complex issue of fire management - one of the greatest overarching threats to Australia's birds. Her work focuses on improving the conservation status of Australia’s most threatened birds in two key areas: 

Emergency Interventions, to halt and reverse the decline of Australia’s top 20 endangered birds
Improving Australia's legal and policy frameworks to provide strong and effective protection for Australia’s birds. 
Jenny has a PhD in Ecology, Evolution and Systematics from the Australian National University, an Honours degree in Agricultural Science and a Bachelor degree in Science from the University of Melbourne and a Graduate Diploma in Education from La Trobe University.

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