Yesterday, many Australians heard from our Minister for the Environment for the first time.
As an environmental emergency engulfs our nation, I would have thought we would be hearing – from the treetops – the person whose taxpayer-funded job charges them to protect and promote our biosphere, flora and fauna.
Since September, this bushfire season has claimed at least 27 lives, including four firefighters, destroyed more than 2,000 homes, and seen a billion animals perish in New South Wales alone. We are suffering as never before.
Last week, South Australian Senator Sarah Hanson-Young asked the simple question to her Twitter followers: “Where is the Environment Minister???”
Where is the Environment Minister???
Australia is in the midst of an environmental catastrophe.
Over a billion animals have perished in the fires, millions of hectares of habitat destroyed.
We need an urgent Environment Fighting Fund to save, restore & protect #AustraliaBurns
— Sarah Hanson-Young???? (@sarahinthesen8) January 8, 2020
The next day, Hanson-Young reflected: “I sent this tweet last night. Most of the replies were people asking ‘who is the Environment Minister?’…
I sent this tweet last night ????
Most of the replies were people asking “who is the Environment Minister?”… https://t.co/1lGwGyo4m8
— Sarah Hanson-Young???? (@sarahinthesen8) January 9, 2020
For those wondering, our Federal Minister for Environment is a woman called Sussan Ley.
On Monday, more than four months into Australia’s disastrous bushfire season, Ley’s name emerged in the news cycle. Ley announced $50 million for an Emergency Wildlife and Habitat Recovery Package to support immediate work to protect wildlife in the wake of the wildfires. In the announcement, Ley admitted that Australia’s koala population has taken an “extraordinary hit” and may be “endangered”.