By Oliver Milman
The Victorian government has agreed to properly assess the health of the state's endangered species after settling a court case with a community environment group.
Environment East Gippsland, a small volunteer-run group, took the government to court over its failure to prepare "action statements" for four species listed as threatened – the glossy black cockatoo, the long-nosed potoroo, the large brown tree frog and the eastern she oak skink.
Under the government's Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, species listed as threatened must have action statements written about them "as soon as possible".
These statements assess the status of threatened species and help prepare action plans to ensure they do not become extinct.
Despite the implied urgency of these plans in the language of the legislation, there is a backlog of 374 threatened species that do not yet have action statements.
Each of the four species cited in the Environment East Gippsland case has been without an action statement for at least 10 years, with the glossy black cockatoo first listed as threatened in 1995.
As part of the settlement, the government has agreed to finalise action statements by 30 June, 2014. The assessment of the cockatoo will be completed by the end of this year, with the potoroo the next to be analysed. More....