ENVIRONMENTAL campaigner Mark Selmes of Mt Rae Forest is now on Day 10 of a Hunger Strike to highlight the government’s failure to protect the threatened Gang-Gang cockatoo in NSW.
Mr Selmes, who has been camping outside Parliament House during the day and sleeping in local parks at night, places the responsibility for the Gang-Gang’s plight squarely on the shoulders of the NSW government.
“Gang-Gang cockatoos are in peril on private land and there are absolutely no environmental prescriptions to protect them, and nothing to stop their homes from being destroyed” said Selmes.
“The NSW government must take immediate steps to list the Gang-Gang cockatoo on the Code of Practice for Private Native Forests. The minister has known about this for six years and has done nothing about it. It is complete incompetence. It would be a travesty if these extraordinary parrots became extinct because of the negligence of the NSW government” Mr Selmes said.
“The government clearly has to stand up to private landowners and stop the destruction of critical habitat, not just for the Gang-Gang cockatoo but for many other native species.
“We have a ridiculous situation in NSW where forests like Mt Rae are being logged for firewood by absentee owners, where ecosystems are being destroyed and species are heading for extinction and the Minister for the Environment refuses to do anything about it” said Selmes. “The department we turn to for protection has become the logging advocate.”
“Private landowners are supposed to identify threatened and endangered species on their land and take steps to protect them, but the law is set up to make that entirely arbitrary,” he said. “Naturally commercial considerations are going to mean that this provision is ignored. It really is a farce”.
Mr Selmes plans to remain on a hunger strike outside Parliament House in Macquarie Street until the NSW government takes steps to include the threatened Gang-Gang cockatoo in its Code of Practice for Private Native Forests.