Action plan for threatened species strategy in the offing

The Federal Government’s recently revised national strategy to protect threatened species has moved to the public consultation phase.

The Threatened Species Strategy 2021-30 was announced in May and calls for a more coordinated approach to culling feral pest animals and weeds that are pushing native species to extinction.

It also proposes the deployment of new monitoring technologies, including drones and environmental DNA.

Other direct and supporting actions include conserving, restoring, and improving habitat; emergency preparedness and response; climate change adaptation and resilience; effective planning for conservation; and community leadership and engagement.

Public consultations to develop the Action Plan 2021-26 are being conducted by the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE).

About 100 priority species and up to 20 places with specific targets focussed on recovery actions to 2026 are expected to be identified in consultations.

These consultations will run alongside DAWE’s consultations with stakeholders, including local and state governments, scientists, land managers, Traditional Owners, communities, and environmental groups.

Consultations will end on Monday, July 26, with the action plan expected to be finalised later this year.

Local councils are major stakeholders in biodiversity/biosecurity, and as such ALGA takes part in several intergovernmental working groups.

Local government involvement in biodiversity includes:

  • Managing vegetation along roadsides, and in parks, green corridors, cemeteries and other environmental assets;
  • Using potentially dangerous chemicals, such as glyphosate, to manage weeds and pests;
  • Supporting healthy biodiversity as a placemaking/lifestyle attraction;
  • Undertaking planning processes that need to be cognoscente of Matters of National Environmental Significance (EPBC Act);
  • Managing wild and feral domestic cat populations; and
  • Supporting local agricultural businesses – if there is a biosecurity emergency or if LG officers identify the presence of a listed invasive species.

Several state and territory local government associations have expressed concern about the narrow timeframe for providing feedback to the department.