A road at the Canberra Airport is threatening the future for the critically endangered Canberra Grassland Earless Dragon. It’s time to take a stand to fight for its survival with a decision by the Federal Environment Minister imminent. 

Currently the Environment department has invited submissions from key stakeholders reviewing the options put forward by Canberra Airport Group. The Environment Minister will then potentially exercise her powers under national environment law to suspend, vary or revoke the approval.

In 2009 a proposal by the Canberra Airport Group to build a road from Fairbairn to Majura Road in Pialligo was approved under national environment laws. However, in the years that followed, the Canberra Airport Group couldn’t secure the land they needed – so the plans were revised. Also in the years since the approval, the Canberra Grassland Earless Dragon has been recognised as a distinct species and been listed as critically endangered.

Now is the time to write to the Minister calling on her to stop the road and protect the Canberra Dragon!

Suggestions to include in your email to the Environment Minister 

To: Minister.Plibersek@dcceew.gov.au

Subject: Save the Canberra Grassland Earless Dragon 

  • Revoke the approval for the North Road at Canberra Airport.
  • The Environment Minister has included the Canberra Grassland Earless Dragon in her list of 110 priority species in the fight against extinctions. To honour this commitment and maintain a chance of  protecting this species the north road approval must be revoked. 
  • The 2021 Federal State of Environment Report revealed the stark reality of Australia’s nature as “poor and deteriorating”. Australia’s unique animals and plants are under significant pressure. Action is needed quickly to arrest environmental decline and prevent new extinctions of plants and animals. Australia has a substandard track record on extinctions, leading the world  on the highest number of mammal extinctions and has one of the highest rates of species decline in the developed world.
  • Offering up compensatory measures doesn’t make the negative impacts of this road acceptable, nor will those measures result in a ‘net positive’ outcome. 
  • If it proceeds, the road will bisect the place where individuals from a small population of Canberra Dragons have been sighted. This place is therefore incredibly valuable.
  • In May 2023, based on advice from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee that Canberra Dragons have a very restricted distribution and just three small populations, the federal Environment Minister listed Canberra Dragons under the EPBC Act as a ‘Critically Endangered’ threatened species.
  • At the Critically Endangered level, the loss even one individual from this small population could be highly significant for the species’ survival. The genes of individuals from this important population need to be safeguarded. Their habitat must be retained.
  • Canberra Airport Group state they have improved their road design by reducing it from a three-lane to a two-lane road. This suggests the proposed road is getting smaller; however, the opposite is true. When it was submitted for approval, a longer road was proposed going around the core habitat where the Canberra Dragons live. That longer road was going to disturb 3.39 ha. Now, on a much more direct route straight through the Canberra Dragons’ core habitat, the area to be disturbed is larger (4.84 ha). As shown in the map below.
  • What’s more, outside the road corridor, two new bus parking areas have been added, and earthworks for a drainage basin needed to ensure the main airport runway does not get inundated by runoff from the road. These extras are all proposed in the area where the Canberra Dragons live. As shown in the map below.

Let us know you’ve written to the environment minister by emailing us at info@conservationcouncil.org.au

Together we will stand up for a future where wildlife thrives, bushland is protected and there are no more extinctions.

If you don’t have the time to write a unique email directly to the Environment Minister, the below form will do the work for you. The more emails in her inbox the more we are demonstrating that the community wants the Canberra Grassland Earless Dragon protected.

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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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