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Protect the Canberra Grassland Earless Dragon

Nature in Canberra and Australia is in trouble. The wildlife and the places we love are under threat like never before. Right here our precious Canberra Grassland Earless Dragon is under threat due to a proposed road set to destroy its habitat. Canberra Airport Group have all the approvals they need to clear grassland for its new proposed ‘Northern Road.’ Call on decision makers to protect the Canberra Dragon.

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Protect the Canberra Grassland Earless Dragon Now by Writing a Letter to the Environment Minister

Email Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Catherine King, Minister for Territories Kristy McBain and Member for Canberra Alicia Payne now to demand they protect the Canberra Dragon from the proposed road through their habitat.
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What’s going on with Canberra’s Dragons?

In 2019, taxonomists realised southeast Australia’s Grassland Earless Dragons are not all the same. They found there is actually four different Dragon species. One of the three newly-recognised species lives around Canberra and Queanbeyan and has come to be known as the ‘Canberra Grassland Earless Dragon’.

The Canberra Dragons have just three small populations. Concerningly, one of the remaining populations is under imminent existential threat from a proposal by the Canberra Airport Group.

In 2009, the Canberra Airport Group were given approval to construct a road linking Fairbairn to Majura Road in Pialligo. Back then, the road was to go around the habitat that we now know is critical to the Dragon population.

However, in the years that followed, the Canberra Airport Group couldn’t secure the land they needed. So they changed their plans to cut through the Dragon habitat.

During this time, scientists realised that what was once considered to be a single species of Grassland Dragon is actually multiple species. And the population at risk by the Canberra Airport Group’s proposal was identified as the endangered Canberra Grassland Earless Dragon.

Even though an ecological survey pointed this out the Canberra Airport Group has pressed ahead with their plans.

So, we now have a situation where the Canberra Airport Group is about to gain control of the land they need to act on this thirteen year old approval and build this road right through the middle of the Natural Temperate Grassland where the Canberra Dragon population lives.

All is not lost. In 2022, the Environment Department published a draft assessment of the Canberra Dragons, prepared by the Threatened Species Scientific Committee. The Committee say the new species should be listed ‘critically endangered’. As such, Friends of Grasslands requested the Environment Minister suspend the approval for the road, because of that new information.

Still we wait, hoping the Environment Minister will take strong action to protect Canberra Grassland Earless Dragons. It is vital that she does because, if this road proceeds, it will increase the risk of extinction for the population living on and adjacent to the Canberra Airport.

Canberra does not need this unnecessary road. Join us in the fight to protect this nationally-significant species!

– Matt Whitting, Friends of Grasslands

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