Billboard warns Minister Plibersek: Labor’s First Extinction


A billboard calling on Federal Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek, to act now to save a 60-million-year-old marine animal from extinction was installed in front of the Minister's Sydney electorate office this morning. Tasmanian community group, Neighbours of Fish farming (NOFF) has hired the billboard space to demand urgent action under Federal environmental legislation. The campaign includes meeting with various groups to lobby for change and to contact the minister directly. Posters around Sydney sharing the message have also been installed.

The 4 x 3 metre billboard warns the Minister that the endangered Maugean skate - a survivor from the age of dinosaurs - will become "Labor's First Extinction" unless industrial Atlantic salmon feedlots are removed from Macquarie Harbour.

Last year, the Minister's own science advisors warned that salmon feedlots in the remote West Coast waterway were the main drivers of collapsing oxygen levels, threatening the Maugean skate with extinction. The skate's population has plunged 50% in its only habitat in just seven years.

"The Minister's advisors recommended urgent action before last summer but nothing's been done to reduce or remove the feedlots," says Tasmanian-based NOFF campaigner, Jess Coughlan, in Sydney for the launch.

Ms Coughlan was in Canberra last Friday giving evidence of salmon industry greenwashing in Macquarie Harbour to a Senate inquiry.

"Minister Plibersek's had more than enough time to review Federal approval for the industry's expansion 12 years ago and has the power to reverse that decision and stop production right now," Ms Coughlan says. "We expect the Minister to have the courage to stand up to the giant multinationals that run the industry in Tasmania and act to safeguard Tasmania's coastal waters and Australia's marine heritage.
"The industry itself has pledged not to lose a single fish or a single job to protect the harbour and save the skate."

Full investigation by Booker Prize-winning author , Richard Flanagan, into unfolding tragedy in Macquarie Harbour: Labor's First Extinction

  • More information: Peter George 0426 150 369

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