Sussan Ley, our Environment Minister, claims to be blindsided by UNESCO's draft decision to list the Great Barrier Reef as endangered. Little wonder she feels like this because she has stated "The Great Barrier Reef is not dead, is not dying and is not even on life support". The reef deserves better.
Congratulations to Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley on her efforts to protect our precious koalas, which she announced this week. I agree that we should consider whether the threatened species status of our koalas should be raised from 'vulnerable' to 'endangered', as announced by Ms Ley. Likewise. I commend her efforts to protect the Great Barrier Reef, which is another Australian icon.
However, there is one 'threatened species' under Ms Ley's watch which continues to get little or no attention. I'm talking about the irrigation farmers, in particular those who frequent the lands of the mid-Murray region in southern NSW. Believe it or not, the federal representative in Canberra for this 'threatened species' is none other than the federal Environment Minister. So I would like to ask: Why isn't she putting more effort into their protection, instead of the feel-good koalas and reef?
Don't get me wrong, I fully support all efforts that protect Australia's iconic animals and environments. However, I also see human beings who have worked their land for generations, putting food on the table across our nation, become vulnerable because there is a distinct lack of government support.
If the Environment Minister doesn't want to protect our farmers, why wouldn't she want to protect the iconic Murray River and its tributaries, which are suffering so much damage?
I really admire those community minded citizens who are not worrying only about their own welfare and have shown courage and received the COVID vaccination. Conversely I challenge those who are hanging back, procrastinating hoping for the arrival of a new miracle vaccine that will be free of any side effects, long-lasting, painless and 100 per cent effective to go and be vaccinated. Also such people should ignore the half truths, lies and scuttlebutt that regularly appears on social media sites and think of their duty to the whole country. There was a recent report that paramedics were having difficulty accessing the vaccination. My understanding is that such vaccinations will not be made compulsory and some paramedics have decided not to. If this is the case then I believe that people who are at the very front of contact with the public with many daily interactions and who have vowed to help the community should set an example and receive the jab.
Only when the majority of Australians have been vaccinated will the country be able to return to some semblance of normality free from regular frequent lockdowns, travel limits ,business closures and uncertainty.
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