Auditor General finds more needs to be done to conserve threatened species

In his latest report tabled in Parliament today, Rich and Rare: Conservation of Threatened Species Follow-up Audit, Auditor General Colin Murphy found that while some improvement had been made, much more needs to be done to conserve the State’s world renowned biodiversity.

Mr Murphy said since he last reported on this area in 2009, the size of the task had increased, with the number of species listed as threatened up 12%, and those possibly threatened up 29%.

‘This increase is in part due to greater knowledge, however there is no doubt the remarkable biodiversity of WA and the sheer size of our State make conserving our threatened species a very important, but very challenging task,’ he said.

‘The passage of new legislation in 2016 was an important milestone as it provides opportunities for the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) to work in new and different ways.

‘However, taking advantage of this legislation, while managing a growing task with constrained resources, makes it critical to prioritise conservation activities and know if they are working.

‘In that context, my 2009 recommendations to improve how DBCA uses its information to prioritise and evaluate its conservation efforts are more relevant than ever.

‘But progress has been disappointing and DBCA still has considerable work to do to put both the information, and the systems to use it, in place.
‘I have made further recommendations that should assist DBCA to show Parliament and the public that scarce resources are being effectively targeted to conserve our world renowned biodiversity.’

Mr Murphy also tabled his latest Opinion on Ministerial Notification, which found a decision by the Minister for Fisheries not to provide Parliament with legal advice about the State’s likely exposure to compensation claims if a State subsidised shark deterrent device proved ineffective in a shark attack, was reasonable and appropriate.

Under legislation, the Auditor General on receipt of a notification is required to express an opinion as to whether it is reasonable and appropriate for a Minister not to provide information to Parliament.

The Auditor General’s reports, Rich and Rare: Conservation of Threatened Species – Followup Audit (Report 16 – 2017) and Opinion on Ministerial Notification (Report 15 – 2017), are available on the Office of the Auditor General website at www.audit.wa.gov.au.

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