Today on World Environment Day, the Coalition is delighted to announce that a re-elected Turnbull Government will create a $5 million Threatened Species Recovery Fund to support local communities in the fight to protect Australia’s vulnerable wildlife.
The Fund will provide seed money and community grants for local projects that strongly align with the targets of Australia’s Threatened Species Strategy.
Across Australia local communities, environment groups and ‘friends of’ groups are working tirelessly to protect our vulnerable species. We want to support their efforts.
The first nine projects to be supported by the new Fund will focus on community conservation efforts in Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania.
Examples of these projects include work to control predators and improve habitat in far north Queensland to protect the Southern Cassowary; creating a new secure population in Western Australia of Gilbert’s Potoroo – the world’s rarest marsupial; predator control in Tasmania’s Meander Valley to protect the Eastern Barred Bandicoot and Eastern Quoll.
Australia’s unacceptably high rate of species extinction is a problem that needed a fresh approach. That is why the Coalition Government appointed Australia’s first Threatened Species Commissioner and released Australia’s first Threatened Species Strategy.
The Strategy contains ambitious but achievable targets to turn around the trajectory of 20 priority birds, 20 priority mammals and 30 priority plants by 2020. It also commits to the creation of five feral cat-free island, 10 mainland feral cat-free wildlife enclosures and the culling of two million feral cats.
For the first time ever, threatened species have an Australian Government policy framework with hard and measurable targets.
Since the appointment of the Threatened Species Commissioner in June 2014, the Australian Government has mobilised more than $208 million for projects that directly support and protect our threatened species.
However protecting our vulnerable wildlife is not a task that governments can do alone. We can only be successful by working in partnership with all levels of government, the private sector and the community.
The Threatened Species Recovery Fund will help galvanise community action on the ground, where it is needed most.