Great Barrier Reef
A tourist snorkels above coral in the lagoon located on Lady Elliot Island on the Great Barrier Reef, 80 kilometers north-east from the town of Bundaberg in Queensland, Australia, June 9, 2015. Reuters/David Gray

Almost 24 native species in Queensland have been given the threatened status. The government is now gathering support for tougher vegetation clearing laws. It has come to the point where scientists should question why more and more Australia’s flora and fauna are being lost. Australia already has the alarming record of losing the most mammals.

The government’s committee has made recommendations after being charged with assessing Australia’s flora and fauna. Even the Bramble Cay Melomys have become extinct after a storm inundated their far north Queensland home. Griffith University's professor Darryl Jones said that it is time to take the threatening processes involved seriously.

One of the most important threats that Australian species are facing is loss of habitat and something needs to be done immediately to address the problem before more and more species become extinct. Jones also pointed out that threat to species comes from all over the state but a common factor was their dependence on eucalypt forests, writes Brisbane Times.

Over the next three months, the committee would be examining the impact of clearing trees on endangered species after Environment Minister Dr. Steven Miles ordered the probe. The former Liberal National Party's (LNP) relaxed 2013 framework is being challenged as the Palaszczuk government lobbies for support of its tougher vegetation management laws.

This change is also crucial for Australia’s Great Barrier Reef as tougher regulations are required to keep the reef off UNESCO’s “in danger” list. Going against opposing views, Miles defended stricter laws saying that new regulations won’t in any way harm farmers. Agricultural profitability won’t be an issue, he strongly said.

He urged every single MP to take into account how sediment pollution is damaging the beautiful Great Barrier Reef as a result of tree clearing before they cast their votes on these laws. Since LNP’s changes, tree clearing has almost doubled to around 300,000 hectares, recent government figures have revealed.