How big is the problem of invasive species? In the words of Deakin University’s Professor Euan Ritchie, ‘the short answer is: it’s massive’. Invasive genes and species are one of the biggest environmental problems facing Australia and the number one cause of native species extinctions. They also cause immense economic and cultural damage; since the 1960s, Australia has variously spent and incurred losses amounting to $390 billion due to invasive species.
“The main thing for everyone to be aware of is that the extinction crisis is everyone’s problem,” says RSV President Rob Gell AM. “It’s no good sitting back waiting for somebody else to deal with it. Governments, industries, communities, academics, First Nations – we all have a responsibility, and a role to play. The challenge comes from knowing exactly which role is yours… and how to coordinate the collective effort.”
This report and position paper from the Royal Society of Victoria (RSV) addresses the conservation and recovery of Australia’s unique biodiversity, particularly in the State of Victoria. It summarises the current state of reviews, responses and policies in Victoria in the broader Australian and global context, with recommendations for action.
Aquatic systems, by their nature, distribute pollutants widely and effectively. Port Phillip Bay is currently impacted by a range of introduced pollutants and its long-term viability needs to be reassessed. New standards and technologies should be reconsidered, and system-wide thinking applied to the management of our limited water resources; particularly in a time of climate change and population growth. Business as usual will *not* be the solution.
The fate of the thylacine was not an isolated incident in Australia’s recent history – rather, it represents a story repeated so often that it lacks the shocking impact it should have. To compare with a different story that regularly draws greater national focus: every 4 years Australia has sent athletes to compete at the Olympic Games, while every 2.34 years Australia has completely removed another species from existence.