Environment and Water | January 02, 2018

Kealy - Labor must act now to restore platypus population

The Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy MP is calling on the Andrews Labor Government to support conservation efforts to help re-establish a platypus population in the upper reaches of the Wimmera River.

Experts believe the millennium drought in the early 2000s ravaged platypus populations in the area.

Ms Kealy spoke in Parliament in December about the findings of a recent study which found that the Wimmera River’s upper catchment no longer has a self-sustaining platypus population.

“To successfully return platypus to the upper reaches of the Wimmera River we must first make sure the habitat is healthy enough to sustain them,” Ms Kealy said.

“I have called on the Andrews Labor Government to support conservation efforts by local organisation Project Platypus, landcare groups and local landowners to restore vegetation in key areas along the Wimmera River.

“This will help repair the local platypus habitat and give our region the best possible opportunity to re-establish a viable platypus population.

Ms Kealy also spoke in Parliament in early 2017 when Project Platypus was at risk of closing due to an unfulfilled funding promise by the Andrew’s Labor Government.

“Labor’s failure to providing funding for a part-time Landcare facilitator when first promised resulted in Project Platypus reaching crisis point and was close to folding”, Ms Kealy said.

“Labor’s all talk and no action approach severely impacted on the ability for Project Platypus to plan and implement projects vital to supporting our local environment.

“Daniel Andrews needs to take action now and give our local organisations the support they need to protect the future of our iconic platypus population.

“I congratulate everyone involved in Project Platypus for their tenacity and ongoing commitment to ensuring the future sustainability of our local environment”, she said.

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