This is a copy of a letter that my local MP Dan Tehan sent to Sussan Ley and her reply.
I post this for comments .
THE HON SUSSAN LEY MP MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
MEMBER FOR FARRER
17 T F
The Hon Dan Tehan MP Minister for Education Member for Wannon
Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600
23 MAR 2020
2 4 MAR 2020
Office of the Viinisteri
Thank you for your representation of 23 January 2020 on behalf of your constituent Mr Stephen Mueller, concerning River Blackfish impacted by the recent bushfires in Victoria and New South Wales. The Australian Government shares your deep concern about the impacts of recent bushfires on native freshwater fish species. I apologise for the delay in responding.
In response to the devastating bushfires of the 2019/20 season, the Government has made an initial investment of $50 million to support the immediate work to protect wildlife, and work with scientists, ecologists, communities and land managers to plan the longer-term protection and restoration effort. I have also asked the Threatened Species Commissioner, Dr Sally Box, to convene an Expert Panel to assist in identifying priority recovery actions and developing a long-term wildlife protection and habitat restoration plan.
On 11 February 2020, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment released a provisional list of 113 animal species identified by experts as the highest priorities for urgent management intervention over the coming weeks and months. The animal species included are initial priorities – many others will also need management intervention to support recovery. The list includes 17 fish species, one of which is the River Blackfish (south western Victoria) (Gadopsis sp. nov. “Western Victoria). Two priority actions have been identified for all high priority species:
1. Rapid on-ground surveys to establish extent of population loss and provide a baseline for
2. Protecting unburnt areas within or adjacent to recently burnt ground that provide refuge, as well
as unburnt areas that are not adjacent to burnt areas, especially from extensive, intense fire.
Given that the work of the Expert Panel is still ongoing, there will be further announcements over the coming weeks and months regarding the emergency on-ground actions to be supported by the Australian Government. I refer you to the Department’s website for bushfire recovery at http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/bushfire-recovery for news of these announcements.
Thank you for bringing Mr Mueller’s concerns to my attention. Yours sincerely
Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Telephone (02) 6277 7920