Topics: Announcement of additional funding for protection of threatened species
I’d like to welcome everybody here and say thank you for having Zed, as Senator for the ACT and Peter Hendy here. To all of the folks that have been involved with the Mulligan’s Flat Sanctuary and Woodlands – you’ve done a great job. To Jason and Alison and Adrian, to Kate, to all of you – you should be immensely proud with what you’ve achieved.
This is a story of success in recovering threatened species. What we see is that in this one area, the bettong population has increased from just over 30 to just under 200. So a six-fold increase in the bettong population. You have your magnificent eastern-grey kangaroos, you’ve got birdlife, you’ve got an amazing range of achievements and you’ve created a sanctuary for wildlife here in the middle of Canberra. So that’s a story of success in your patch there.
What we’re here to talk about more broadly is the commitment to threatened species and so this is a national priority and it wasn’t previously. And so we have a series of things. We have appointed a Threatened Species Commissioner, Gregory Andrews, who is a registered force of nature.
We have established a Threatened Species Hub, which will be co-led by ANU and that’s a $30 million commitment over six years. But it’s not the money – it’s the focus on practical work. And then beyond that, what we’ve done is we’ve tried to make the feral cat eradication identified by Professor John Woinarski, as the number one threatening process to Australian mammals.
The big thing that we want to achieve and so there’s a National Feral Cat Eradication Plan which we’re putting together. Gregory’s task is this year to ensure that a million feral cats are dealt with around the country to take the pressure of native species. So these are whirling sources of tragedy in our native environment. And then we’re backing it up with some funds.
So tonight, I’m delighted to announce two rounds of funding. The first is almost $750,000 for 11 threatened species programmes around the country. That is including the southern corroboree frog, the Mallee-emu wren, a range of other species including support for the critical salt marsh which is protective for the orange-bellied parrots. So all of these species including the eastern bandicoot. Critical animals, projects aimed a species recovery.
That builds on the sort of work that’s being done here and I want to say, in particular, Alison, to you and the team, I am really delighted, Zed, to announce four Green Army projects to a value of about $750,000 for Mulligan’s Flat and the Gungahlin area to improve the native species, to remove invasive species, to rehabilitate the land and to get young people into the environment.
So Kate, this is the sort of thing where you should be a team leader. They’re teams of ten young people – one leader, nine participants. They’re getting practical hands-on experience, they’re working in the environment, they’re learning about nature, they’re doing real things such as re-introducing bettongs, taking care of species and giving themselves a chance at employment in the environment in the long-term.
So I really thank you for what you’re doing. We couldn’t have done it without you. You’re the ones. If we can add this additional funding of three-quarters of a million for the Mulligan’s Flat area and three-quarters of a million for threatened species recovery through the 11 projects around the country, I think that’s a good thing. I might see if Zed, you have anything to say?
Sure, happy to. Thank you very much Minister and thanks Peter for being here. It’s one of the wonderful things about Canberra, I think, is the way that we have reserved large parts of our land for wildlife. Our nature reserves, I think, are some of the most beautiful in the country in my humble opinion and Mulligan’s Flat is one of those.
So I’m really pleased that the Commonwealth Government has committed to helping to make the environment here in Gungahlin, in the north of Canberra, even better. Helping to give young people the opportunities to learn about nature conservation, about threatened species and to really get their hands dirty for a very, very good cause and so I think this is critical when it comes to research, but I also think it has all sorts of flow on benefits for our local community. So I’m very, very pleased.
Peter, do you want to add anything?
Well, I’ll just say that feral animal control is a huge issue in rural New South Wales, next door to here, the ACT. The work that’s been going on in the ACT provides valuable lessons for what we can do in New South Wales and I’m here to see the results of those trials that we’ve got here and thank you Minister for coming here and giving us all the increased support. Thank you very much.
Ok. Well done guys, you should be very proud.