Australian mammals are under threat of extinction unless the nation ends native forest logging, says Independent MP Sophie Scamps.
She said on Monday that failing to act on the issue would be “morally bankrupt” and she’ wants the federal government to take steps towards a national ban.
Former environment ministers at a state and federal level, and from both Labor and the coalition, have signed a pledge calling for action on such a ban.
The former ministers include former Liberal frontbencher Robert Hill and Labor’s Peter Garrett.
Dr Scamps said Australia leads the world in extinction of mammal species, with more than 70 million native animals killed as a result of deforestation.
“We’re facing an extinction crisis, we’re facing an environmental crisis, and we’re facing a climate crisis,” she told reporters in Canberra on Monday.
“We need to act and we need to act now. To not act in this context is morally bankrupt.”
Fellow crossbenchers Kylea Tink, Monique Ryan, Allegra Spender and David Pocock have made the pledge, joining long-time advocates in the Greens.
“The Greens have been calling for native forest logging to end for the whole time we’ve been in existence,” Greens senator Janet Rice said.
“It is a Commonwealth responsibility to be protecting Commonwealth-listed threatened species, plus the carbon benefits of not logging our forests are immense.”
Asked how the federal government can map a pathway forward given state governments run logging corporations, Dr Scamps said regional forest agreements should be brought into the federal realm.
Those agreements are long-term plans about how native forests can be managed sustainably.
“The environment minister (Tanya Plibersek) has promised to do that, the thing that is missing is when,” Dr Scamps said.
(Australian Associated Press)