Australian Black-throated Finch celebrates a reprieve

16 Sep
Black-throated finches are monomorphic. Sexually they look the same, but a very well trained eye will be able to see the difference. Photo courtesy Geoff Jones

Black-throated finches are monomorphic. Sexually they look the same, but only a well trained eye will be able to see the difference. Photo courtesy Geoff Jones

Federal Court decision gives finch a second chance

The future of the endangered Southern Black-throated Finch looked bleak, but today the Federal Court has given the beleaguered bird a reprieve by overturning Commonwealth approval for its habitat to be mined. BirdLife Australia welcomes the decision.

There had been an outcry after the Federal Government granted approval for mining company Adani to establish its controversial Carmichael coal mine in Central Queensland’s Galilee Basin,The mine – set to be Australia’s largest coal mine – had been poised to destroy over 16,500 hectares of habitat crucial to the birds survival.

” The Carmichael mine site supports Australia’s largest known population of Southern Black – throated Finch ” said Samantha Vine, BirdLife Australia Head of Conservation. ” and experts agree that this is clearly the most important site in the world for these birds ”

” The mine would have pushed the population of this tiny bird to the brink of extinction, and today’s judgement means the finch has a second chance ”

The Federal Court’s decision was based on a failure by the Environment Minister Greg Hunt to have regard to conservation advice for the threatened Yakka Skink and Ornamental Snake, and he will now need to decide whether or not to approve the mine again

With the Environment Department indicating the reconsideration could happen in the next six to eight weeks, BirdLife Australia is calling on Minister Hunt to consider significant new information pertaining to the Black-throated Finch which came to light since he made his decision to approve the mine last year. This new information includes evidence heard in a case against the mine in the Queensland Environment Court , which has been running concurrently with the Federal Court challenge.

” The Queensland Environment Court has recently heard evidence regarding the inadequacy of the EIS surveys and the deeply flawed ‘offset ‘ proposals,” said Samantha

Adani’s own Black-throated Finch expert did not dispute that , if the Carmichael mine was to proceed, it would result in the destruction of key critical habitat that would push the Black-throated Finch closer towards extinction. He also admitted that the proposed offset area ” would not have the capacity to take all the birds”

” The Court heard that successful relocation of the birds is unproven and that the area that has been chosen to offset the mine’s environmental damage was based on an inadequate understanding of the significance of the population” continued Ms Vine, ” This evidence was not available to Minister Hunt when he made his decision last July, so we are urging him to consider it and make the right decision for the bird this time ”

The above is a BirdLife Australia media release. Media contact Samantha Vine, Head of Conservation .

The above article was reproduced from FINCH NEWS, the official publication of the Queensland Finch Society Inc, PO Box 1600, Coorpaco DC 4151, Queensland Australia



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