Tuesday 26 October 2010

AUDIO: Warren Entsch slams Wilderness Society in Federal parliament

It was music to Colin Riddell's ears.

Federal MP for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch gave one of his first speeches to the Federal Parliament, on a subject dear to his heart: the protection of the endangered Dugong sea cow.

Colin Riddell has been campaigning for over two years for greater protection of the rare coastal sea creature, following several private videos that have come to light showing Dugongs slaughtered live on the North Queensland Coast.

Warren Entch, in a five minute speech last evening, said people had been educated by Wilderness Society propaganda. He said that a national dugong and turtle protection plan had been neglected by Labor for far too long.

Together with Gregory Hunt, Entsch released a joint statement, saying they were leading the charge to launch a national dugong and turtle protection plan.

"I want to deal with three elements in this. The first is the threat. We heard on 7th October in Abu Dhabi at the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals that the dugong is facing extinction globally within the next 40 years," Warren Entsch said. "We know that already, in areas such as Mauritius and Taiwan, in many of the straits of Indonesia and in many other parts of the world, the dugong has suffered from local extinction. It is facing local extinction in many other areas, and the threat and challenge around the world is that this magnificent, iconic species will not be available and will not be part of the world to be inherited by our grandchildren."

Entsch acknowledged James Epong, a local Indigenous leader, and Colin Riddell, as a passionate advocate for turtle and dugong protection.

"They have been great motivators, along with Bob Irwin and the broadcaster Derryn Hinch, all of whom are among the many people committed to these species," Greg Hunt said.
Entsch is now calling for a crackdown on illegal poaching.

"This poaching has been done in the name of Indigenous communities who are furious that their good name has been exploited by those who have no business pillaging their resources. Secondly, there must be an enforcement process," Entsch said. "To that end, the coalition announced $1.6 million during the course of the election campaign for Indigenous rangers and for Customs officials to enforce the law and make sure that there would be no quarter given."

"Thirdly, there would be $1 million allocated to marine debris clearance and marine protection for these animals—so a $2.6 million package. The last thing is to work towards a moratorium with the support of Indigenous communities while we gather the numbers and find what is necessary to protect these majestic creatures. I commend to the parliament, on a bipartisan basis, the push for a national dugong and turtle protection plan."

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