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Northern Australia biodiversity in decline

The Federal Government is ignoring the plight of native mammals in northern Australia by failing to fund important work investigating the alarming declines of native mammals in the region, say the Australian Greens.

"Despite research showing a 70% decline in species numbers and an 82% decline in animal numbers in Northern Australia, there was no funding allocated for further research into this in the Caring for Our Country grants announced last week," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

"Many scientists are extremely alarmed by this rapid decline. I find the Government's response very concerning. They listed northern and remote Australia as one of the six priority areas in Caring for Our Country, yet didn't allocate any funding to what is likely to be Australia's next wave of extinctions."

The Tropical Savannas Cooperative Research Centre has said on the matter:
"There is substantial recent evidence of rapid declines and local extinctions of many native mammals in extensive areas of northern Australia. This has occurred across all types of land tenures, including large conservation reserves, and represents the most substantial biodiversity conservation challenge facing this region. The factors causing this decline appear to be a cocktail of predation by feral cats, inappropriate fire regimes, and vegetation change due to total grazing pressure, with some possibility of involvement by disease."

"The fact is, our scientists don't know what is causing this decline - and if we continue in this way, without proper funding for research and investigation, we are not going to find out in time," said Senator Siewert.

"The Government has made a mess of funding environmental and Natural Resource Management in Australia, and as a result, our biodiversity will suffer."

"The decline in mammalian biodiversity is the biggest challenge currently facing northern Australia. We must ensure that substantial research is undertaken in Northern Australia, so we can build up a holistic picture of what needs to be done, and ensure no further species loss," she concluded.

For more information or media enquiries please call Tim Norton on 0418 401 180

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