National threatened species strategy to focus on wildlife refuges

Future places of refuge for threatened species will set up and protected under a new biodiversity blueprint unveiled last week.

The Threatened Species Strategy 2021-31 will also look at “assisted colonisation” for populations whose local environments are impacted by changing climate, and will pursue a coordinated approach to culling feral pest animals and weeds that are out-competing native species.

The new strategy includes $57.1 million of new funding, including $18 million for targeting marine species and $29.1 million for addressing threats from invasive pests and weeds, and $10 million for an open grants round for projects tied to the release of an inaugural action plan.

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said: “Our human footprint, feral pests and weeds, our changing climate and biosecurity hazards present an enormous threat to a growing range of native species and this strategy is at the heart of caring for our country, for its biodiversity and for our future.

“The new strategy identifies both species and ‘places’, with an expanded focus on the protection of a more diverse range of species, including reptiles, amphibians, freshwater species, marine species and all of the incredibly unique environments in which they are found,” she said.

The new 10-year strategy will be underpinned by two five-year action plans identifying specific targets across four direct action areas:

  • Mitigating new and established threats;
  • Conserving, restoring and improving habitat;
  • Emergency preparedness and response; and
  • Climate change adaption and resilience.

The first action plan will be released after stakeholder consultation in the second half of the year, and is expected to identify up to 100 priority species and 20 places with specific targets to focus recovery actions to 2026.