Government must step in to save WA's State Emblem

Greens MLC and Biodiversity Spokeswoman Lynn MacLaren MLC has called on the Barnett Government to intervene in plans for a regional waste tip that threatens the future of WA's wild numbat population.

"Western Australia's charismatic State emblem, the numbat, once roamed across southern Australia but now there are only two remaining remnant wild populations, the healthiest of which is at Dryandra Woodland near Cuballing, in the Wheatbelt," Ms MacLaren said.

"Due to a range of pressures, Dryandra now has just 50 numbats, down from 800 in 1992.

"This population is in dire straits due largely to predation by feral animals; the proposal by local shires to build a regional putrescible waste dump within a few kilometres of the Dryanda Woodland might see them wiped out.

"The WA Environment Minister must now intervene.

"It is very surprising that the Environmental Protection Authority did not reject, or at least properly assess this tip proposal, which will increase rodent numbers and thus the number of feral predators, especially cats, in Dryandra, and Australian ravens, which prey on numbats.

"Cats, which have been proven to be extremely hard to control at Dryandra, will also prey on other listed, vulnerable species in the woodland such as the woylie.

"I am also worried that the tip could lead to disease in native fauna if a black rat population becomes established.

"The EPA, in deciding not to reject or assess the tip proposal, clearly did not investigate in any detail the strong concerns expressed by the Wheatbelt office of the Department Parks and Wildlife, outlined in a submission to local shires.

"This submission clearly warned that the tip will increase local feral animals, with negative impacts on Dryanrda fauna and other close-by conservation reserves.

"The Greens will appeal the EPA's decision and are also exploring other avenues to protect Dryandra's precious wildlife under Federal environmental legislation."

Photo credit: Numbat Task Force