$150 million funding boost for bushfire affected wildlife and plants

12 May 2020

The Morrison Government has taken its investment in bushfire recovery for native wildlife and habitat areas to more than $200 million.

Delivering on the promise for additional funding based on expert research, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced $150 million on top of the $50 million initial recovery package.

The unprecedented environmental disaster response will help secure the future of treasured native species from the Koala to the Kangaroo Island Dunnart and the Northern Corrobboree Frog, as well as  unique plants such as the Wollemi Pine, Banksias and Bottlebrushes.

The wildlife and habitat bushfire recovery response is further aided by a $94.6 million package to help support zoos and aquariums during the COVID-19 crisis, a $6 million investment in koala hospitals and habitat protection through the Environment Restoration Fund and $2 million for additional research investment through the National Environmental Science Program’s Threatened Species Recovery Hub to guide our bushfire recovery efforts.

“We have listened to the experts from the Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel, from wildlife carers, conservation organisations and community groups,” Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said.

“They are identifying ways to best help our native animal and plant species in terms of recovery and long term protection.

“Since our initial package which has delivered much needed relief for volunteers, land managers, seed banks, veterinarians and zoos, we have been clear that more money would be forthcoming and we intend to put it to the best possible use, using expert advice.”

Available from 1 July over the next two years, the additional $150 million will target on ground action across bushfire-affected regions, including our treasured World and National Heritage places.

The Morrison Government will partner with states and territories, Indigenous communities, scientists, zoos, Landcare groups, non government organisations and local communities in the roll out of recovery projects, the updating of threatened species conservation plans and the evaluation and tracking of the recovery effort:

  • $110 million will be directed to strategic on-ground support for the most impacted native species in vulnerable bushfire-affected regions. These actions will focus on preventing extinction and limiting species decline, including interventions such as feral animal and weed control, revegetation and regeneration, protection of refuges and landscape management delivering umbrella benefits for plants and animals.
  • $12 million will be made available for projects to engage local communities in conserving their local environment and driving recovery and to support knowledge exchange on Indigenous cultural burning and land management.
  • $28 million will resource further scientific assessment and planning coordination for our most at-risk species under Australia’s environmental law, ensuring we are well placed to understand the actions needed to recover these species, and support the Expert Panel and Department in their critical advisory and implementation roles.

Targeted interventions for at-risk species will be delivered in bushfire-affected regions across Australia and in vulnerability hotspots such as the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains, the rainforests of the New South Wales north coast and our Alpine environments.

This approach will ensure we limit the decline of as many species as possible and help some of our most special places bounce back.

The impacts of the bushfires on native wildlife and landscapes have been significant. While there are some encouraging signs our native animals and plants are starting to bounce back, experts advise it will take at least a decade or more of sustained effort to recover.

Beyond the investment we are announcing today, the Morrison Government remains committed to developing innovative funding mechanisms to help protect and support the long-term recovery.

Whether on the ground, or in vital research and planning, this important work will continue where possible to give our precious plants and animals the best chance at survival and long-term recovery.

More information on the Government’s action to drive recovery of our precious native wildlife and plants from the bushfires is at https://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/bushfire-recovery/