Michelle Lensink

Environmental cuts bite on National Tree Day

The Weatherill Labor Government’s savage cuts to the Environment Department is severely undermining the protection of South Australia’s fragile natural environment and the management of our national parks system.

“The Weatherill Labor Government has taken an axe to the environment agencies’ funding which has fallen from $258 million in 2008-09 to just $107.5 million next year,” said Shadow Environment Minister Michelle Lensink.

“This savage funding cut for environment agencies has resulted in hundreds of job losses amongst environmental officers.

“I’m deeply concerned that the huge jobs losses and savage funding cuts will fatally compromise the agencies’ ability to respond to the substantial challenges facing South Australia’s environment.

“In particular our National Parks have borne the brunt of Labor’s neglect of the environment with the number of park rangers falling from 300 in 2002 to just 88 this year.

“South Australia has 347 National Parks covering 21 million hectares and I’m fearful that even more park rangers will be cut during the next four years.

“Regional SA has been particularly hard hit. With the Native Vegetation Unit being halved, staff will be unable to respond to illegal clearances. Regional Biodiversity positions have also been axed.

“Trees in metropolitan Adelaide also have far less protection courtesy of Labor’s changes to significant tree laws. Arborists have reported that the number of trees felled accelerated after it was made easier to chop down trees on private property.”

The Environment Departments website states:

Our natural resources are of great importance to the people of South Australia. They underpin our health, wellbeing, prosperity and way of life.

“It’s time the Weatherill Labor Government understood the importance of those words, acted accordingly and invested in more environmental officers,” Ms Lensink said.

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