National Threatened Species Day on September 7 is held each year to commemorate the day the last Tasmanian Tiger died in captivity in a Hobart zoo in 1936.
Environment groups Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO), Wildlife of the Central Highlands and Fauna and Flora Research Collective decided to commemorate the day this year by presenting an invoice for $2 million to the state government.
The groups called on the state government to better protect species such as the threatened Greater Glider and Victoria’s animal emblem, the critically endangered Leadbeater’s possum.
The three groups say they have spent more than 10,000 hours conducting citizen surveys and reporting protected wildlife in areas designated for logging by VicForests. Their surveys have resulted in hundreds of hectares of protected areas that would have been logged if not for the voluntary surveys.
Based on standard rates for environmental consulting, the groups have put a $2 million price tag on their work. They prepared an invoice addressed to VicForests sole shareholder, Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas.
He was not available to meet the activists, but Greens MP Samantha Dunn took the invoice and offered to present it to Parliament on their behalf.
Ed Hill of GECO said: “In East Gippsland several logging operations have been halted this year after our surveys found threatened Greater Gliders that trigger legal protection. If not for our surveys to identify protected habitat, these forests would have been illegally logged.
“Citizen surveys have recorded more than 25 Leadbeater’s possums this year, in forests earmarked for logging within the proposed Great Forest National Park.
“The Andrews government is allowing logging in critical habitat without looking for protected species. It’s up to the community to pick up the pieces of a broken and corrupt regulatory system where state-owned logging company VicForests conducts its own environmental assessments.
“We have been doing the government’s job for them by finding protected species and making sure legally required protections are implemented.
“Our wildlife is being pushed further towards extinction while the government wastes millions of taxpayer dollars each year propping up VicForests and then leaves it up to the community to police their operations.”