Media Release Threatened Species

Extinction crisis Senate inquiry highlights need to deliver new nature laws to save Maugean skate

May 23, 2024
  • Our current federal environment laws are failing endangered species; Albanese Government must deliver full package of new nature laws before the election
  • Maugean skate facing extinction in 10 years because of poor water quality in its only home due mostly to salmon farming
  • Albanese Govt has committed to no new extinctions so needs to take advice of its own threatened species committee to rid Macquarie Harbour of salmon

The interim report of the Senate inquiry into the extinction crisis released today says our federal environment laws, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, are  failing endangered species and calls for their promised reform to be delivered in this term of government, the Australian Marine Conservation Society said.

New nature laws are needed to save endangered species such as the Maugean skate, which is hurtling towards extinction.

AMCS Fisheries and Threatened Species Campaign Manager Alexia Wellbelove said: “Our oceans are at the forefront of the extinction and climate crises – the same oceans we rely on for our livelihoods, recreation and mental health. Species such as the Maugean skate and red handfish are hurtling towards extinction, they don’t have time to waste.

Our current federal environment laws, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, are failing endangered species. The Albanese government has made a commitment to zero new extinctions, but this will be hard to achieve without delivering the promised new national nature laws within this term of government.

“We welcome the interim recommendations of the Senate inquiry. It is incumbent on the Albanese government to do its utmost to deliver a comprehensive package of legislation this term. We recognise that it is a large and complex task, and may require a staged approach, but we are concerned that it may be delayed indefinitely without a commitment to when the rest and most critical part of the legislation will be delivered. 

“The urgency and need for reform is clear. The EPBC Act has completely failed to protect the Maugean skate which is facing extinction in 10 years or less because of poor water quality in its only home, Macquarie Harbour on Tasmania’s west coast, due mostly to salmon farming

“There is no better example of the failure of the EPBC Act to protect endangered species than the case of the Maugean skate, in which salmon farming increased 20-fold in its only home after it was declared endangered. And the federal government has not yet acted on the independent advice from its own Threatened Species Scientific Committee, which recommended the removal of salmon farming from Macquarie Harbour by last summer.

“The system is broken. Nature urgently needs new laws this term as our endangered species face the impact of change. Nature does not have time to wait.”