The last few years have been devastating for Australian wildlife. The horrific bushfires of 2019 and 2020 killed billions of animals. Through the fires and other causes, the list of threatened or high-risk Australian species has grown at a swift rate since 2016. The new government is confronting the problem with an impressive declaration: 30% of the nation's landmass will be designated for conservation.
The new policy was announced by Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek on October 4, 2022. “The need for action to protect our plants, animals, and ecosystems from extinction has never been greater,” Plibersek said. The policy is funded by the new Labor government which pledged AU$224.5 million (US$146 million). There are 110 in danger species that will be prioritized, as well as 20 regions. The new initiative will expand areas managed for conservation by a whopping 50 million hectares (193,000 square-miles).
While this is an exciting step for the world's sixth largest country, some conservationists think there is still much more to do. “Australia has more than 1,900 listed threatened species. This plan picks 110 winners. It's unclear how it will help our other ‘non priority' threatened species,” Rachel Lowry, WWF-Australia's chief conservation officer, told Reuters. Despite there being more to be done, it is still an ambitious step and a critical move to preserve some of the most unique species on the planet.
After a devastating last four years for Australian wildlife, the government has pledged to dedicate 30% of the nation's landmass to protection of endangered species.
The land will be structured to protect a prioritized 110 species and 20 places.