Five endangered West Australian species have become extinct in the wild, three threatened ecological communities have been destroyed and the fate of at least 41 other species is unknown after no monitoring was done for more than a decade, shows a costly state government audit that was promptly buried without any trends being made public.
WA relies on its biodiversity as a major tourism drawcard.
The audit into the state’s threatened species lists indicated much of WA’s biodiversity was “rapidly heading towards extinction in the next 10 years” and management was having limited impact, a biodiversity expert and former senior public servant with extensive inside knowledge told WAtoday.
It is unknown whether the audit’s results were buried without any final reports being written or made public as intended, but one explanation is that the trends, if viewed overall, were simply too alarming.
Another is that severe public service cuts prevented the finalisation of the report, with WAtoday being told the audit team was dissolved straight after the information gathering was complete and several members were made redundant.