We should also be concerned about degradation of northern Australian landscapes because this provides a performance measure on our management. Most landholders and other natural resource managers want to leave a positive legacy for the next generation. Most descriptions of sustainable development recognise as an explicit principle that development should entail no net biodiversity loss. It reflects poorly on managers if species are lost or environments become degraded on their lands and under their management.
There are legal and policy reasons to maintain the integrity of these systems. Australia has international legal obligations to conserve biodiversity, including those stemming from the Convention on Biological Diversity. Our national and state legislations, notably the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, commit Australia to conserving biodiversity and to ensuring that developments occur within sustainable limits.
Species have their own intrinsic worth. The UN World Charter for Nature, states that ‘Every form of life is unique, warranting respect regardless of its worth to Man’. and that ‘Mankind is a part of nature and life depends on the uninterrupted flow of natural systems’ (United Nations 1982). Every species has some right to persist. And the world would somehow be a poorer place without Gouldian Finches, Golden Bandicoots or any of the other species that are declining or under threat in Northern Australia.
Action is needed to address this situation. Kimberley to Cape is committed to achieving a better future for this land and its people.