The Australian Greens have urged the Federal Government to act earlier to protect the habitat of threatened species, following revelations that Christmas Island's Pipistrelle bat is doomed to extinction.
"I'm saddened but not surprised that it has come to this," Greens Senator for WA Rachel Siewert said. "This is a difficult species to capture and the idea of a captive breeding program was too little, too late.
"What we have seen is successive governments ignoring the plight of species such as the Pipistrelle bat and failing to protect their habitat until the point that the species is beyond saving.
"Instead, we need better preventative action to preserve Australian ecosystems and species before they become degraded or threatened; scientists have been raising the issues around whole-of-ecosystem decline on Christmas Island for some time, with little to no Government action.
"As far as I am aware, the Federal Environment Minister still hasn't made a decision on the expansion of mining operations on Christmas Island and this news about the Pipistrelle bat further highlights the fact that no further mine expansion should occur on Christmas Island," Senator Siewert continued.
"I welcome Peter Garrett's recent comments about moving to an ecosystem-wide approach, but note that this is the exact opposite of the direction that environmental management has taken under Labor's Caring for Our Country, funding from which has focused on short-term individual projects."
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