28 May 2021
This week, Threatened Species Commissioner Sally Box announced the launch of the Australian Government’s new 10-year Threatened Species Strategy.
The Threatened Species Strategy 2021-2031 (the Strategy) sets the Australian Government’s forward plan for action to protect and recover Australia’s threatened plants, animals and ecological communities, and includes:
- a 10- year vision ‘Australia’s threatened species are valued, protected and on the path to recovery’
- two high-level objectives to improve the trajectory of priority threatened species and improve the condition of priority places by 2031
- six prioritisation principles to select priority species and places, based on the risk of extinction, multiple benefits, feasibility and effectiveness, importance to people, uniqueness and representativeness
- and eight key action areas, including both on-ground and supporting actions, that are fundamental to the recovery of threatened species and where the Australian Government can make a difference.
It’s pleasing to note that the new Strategy highlights the need for commitment and coordination as the government plans for the next phase of this process. In the past five years, the awareness has been raised and now it is time to build on that momentum.
However, the Commonwealth Government is great at making announcements foreshadowing positive outcomes, but in reality, they are rarely delivered.
The number of threatened species continues to grow
If there was a gold medal for the best species extinction rate, Australia would be a leading contender. Australia would retain that dubious honour until action is taken to address the inadequate national environmental legislation that continues to be weakened in the name of progress and the search for the almighty dollar.
Funding is also a key issue. It is reported that scientists have estimated the cost of recovering Australia’s listed threatened species is close to $1.69 billion per year. Current funding allocations are but a fraction of what is required.
The first action plan of the new Strategy is to address an estimated 100 priority species and 20 places with specific targets to focus recovery actions to 2026.
Wildlife Queensland would like to be proved wrong with timely reports clearly demonstrating specific set targets were achieved. A report on the initial five-year threatened species strategy is yet to see the light of day.