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February 18 is Bramble Cay Melomys Day

The 18th of February 2020, is the first anniversary of the Bramble Cays melomys being pronounced extinct. This was the 100th species to be driven to extinction since European colonisation of Australia and the first Australian species to go extinct as a direct result of climate change.

The recent fires have also pushed many of our endangered animals perilously close to extinction. Many Australians have been grief-stricken by the deaths of more than a billion Australian animals in these fires. This particularly includes our fire-fighters and first responders who have personally witnessed the agonising deaths of many iconic Australian animals, the conservation scientists who have seen decades of work destroyed, the wildlife carers and vets treating injured animals, and the First Peoples of Australia to whom Australia's plants and animals are of immense cultural importance, but also includes all the everyday Australians who have done what they can to confront our incalculable losses.

Australia and Australians need a place to reflect on these losses, to grieve, and to resolve to build a future without more losses of irreplaceable species. The comfort taken by so many Australians from the news that our unique “dinosaur trees”, the Woolemi pines, were saved from the fires by heroic RFS efforts shows how much value, not just scientific but cultural and emotional, we place in the struggle to turn Australia's extinction crisis around. While Australia's world class natural history museums accurately reflect the scientific importance of our past extinctions, they are primarily places for education and research, not for public remembrance.

Accordingly, we request that a National Memorial and Museum to Extinct and Endangered Australian Species be established in Canberra, where it would complement places such as the National Museum of Australia, the Australian War Memorial and Reconciliation Place, in enabling us to remember the losses of the past, reflect on the present crisis, and resolve to grow a better future in which no more of our endangered species become extinct.

In order to ensure the ongoing commitment of the Australian government to the cause of preventing further extinctions, we also request that the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 be amended so that whenever a new species is declared critically endangered or extinct, the Minister responsible for administering the Act is required to commission, fund and personally open a new exhibit in the Memorial.


To the Honourable Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives,

The 18th of February 2020 is the first anniversary of the Bramble Cays melomys being pronounced extinct. This was the 100th species to become extinct since European colonisation of Australia and the first Australian species to go extinct as a direct result of climate change.

The recent fires have also pushed many of our remaining endangered animals perilously close to extinction. Many Australians have been grief-stricken by the fiery deaths of more than a billion Australian animals. Australia needs a place to reflect on these and the losses of many other animals, creatures and plants, to grieve, and to resolve to grow a future without extinctions.

Accordingly, we request that the House: take action to establish a National Memorial and Museum to Extinct and Endangered Australian Species in Canberra, where it would complement places such as the National Museum of Australia, the Australian War Memorial and Reconciliation Place, enabling us to remember the losses of the past, reflect on the impact of present and future crises on our precious wildlife and ecosystems, and resolve to grow a better future in which no more of our endangered species become extinct; and that the House amend the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 so that whenever a new species is declared critically endangered or extinct, the Minister responsible for administering the Act is required to commission, fund and personally open a new exhibit in the Memorial.

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