The Australian Government is delivering on its commitment to host a landmark national summit on threatened species and launch its own strategy for our rare and endangered animals and plants.
The Threatened Species Summit will be held at Melbourne Zoo on 16 July 2015.
There are more than 1750 mammal, bird, reptile, fish, frog, insect and plant species now at risk and we can’t afford for declines in their populations to continue. Each of these species has its own intrinsic value, and collectively they enrich our lives and our country.
The plight of our wildlife affects not only those who rely on the health of the land for a living, but anyone who’s ever taken their kids for a bushwalk or enjoyed their backyard birdlife.
For the first time, we will bring together a cross-section of society with a common concern for Australia’s animals and plants to explore solutions and promote practical and effective ways of tackling threats to their survival.
This includes state and territory ministers, business leaders, scientific and conservation management experts, non-government organisations and others active in threatened species conservation. The Threatened Species Commissioner, Gregory Andrews, will chair the event.
Hosting the Threatened Species Summit delivers on my commitment last year to bring this important issue to national attention.
For the first time, threatened species will have an Australian Government policy framework with hard and measurable targets.
Today’s announcements build on the substantial work already underway and delivering for threatened species, including:
• the appointment of Australia’s first Threatened Species Commissioner
• the setting of targets to end the loss of mammal species by 2020 and turn around the trajectories of 20 threatened mammals before then
• the investment of more than $76 million in threatened species projects and research, including a $30 million Threatened Species Recovery Hub under the National Environmental Science Programme
• progress towards a humane, broad-scale toxic bait to control feral cats in conservation areas.
One of the biggest dangers to our wildlife is predation by feral cats, so our latest national plan to reduce their devastating impacts will also be launched at the summit. This will mark the first update of the national threat abatement plan for feral cats since 2008.
At my direction, Threatened Species Commissioner Gregory Andrews spent two days this week meeting with more than 60 of Australia’s leading ecologists and researchers at a National Feral Cat Workshop sponsored by my department, and we will see the results of those discussions in July.
Attendance at the Threatened Species Summit in Melbourne will be by invitation, with a live webcast to allow the community to participate.
Further details on the summit and its agenda will be available online shortly at www.environment.gov.au/TSSummit