WWF-Australia has called on the Australian Government to back up their new Threatened Species Strategy
by putting in place stronger environmental laws and increased investment to ensure no more native species go extinct.
Environment Minister Sussan Ley launched the 10-year Threatened Species Strategy today, providing the government’s blueprint to recover Australia’s threatened plants and animals. The new strategy is backed by $57 million in funding for threatened species and is expected to set recovery targets for up to 100 priority species and 20 places.
WWF-Australia’s Chief Conservation Officer Rachel Lowry welcomed the strategy and its focus on priority places, partnerships and emergency preparedness. But she said the strategy needed to be backed by stronger laws and increased investment to halt Australia’s extinction crisis.
“A country with the wealth and prosperity of Australia should be committing to zero extinctions, not just changing the trajectory of a few species,” said Ms Lowry.
“We’re pleased to see the government reasserting its commitment to protecting threatened species listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC). But we know that many of the more than 1,910 species listed under the Act have no recovery plans in place.
“Australia is marching mammal species towards extinction faster than any other nation. To turn this around, we must have time-bound, fully-costed recovery plans for all our threatened species.
“Scientists have estimated the cost of recovering Australia’s listed threatened species is closer to $1.69 billion per year
Ms Lowry said the threatened species strategy should also be accompanied by comprehensive reform of the EPBC Act to end the large-scale destruction of threatened species habitat.
“We have a once-in-a decade opportunity to fix our nature laws and establish an independent agency to ensure they are properly enforced,” she said.
“2021 provides an opportunity for Australia to lift its commitment to nature with the UN Biodiversity COP happening in October. The conference will ask all nations to commit to zero extinctions.
“It’s time for Australia to take a leadership role and shift out of this cycle of loss.”
“Australia suffered its worst bushfires in living memory in 2019-20, with over three billion native animals killed or displaced. The animals that survived this disaster need our protection now more than ever.
“The threatened species strategy is a welcome step, but to stop species extinction, we need law reforms, greater investment and a commitment to global nature targets