Budget boost keeps Lord Howe Island pest free

Australia’s World Heritage listed Lord Howe Island and the future of some of the world’s rarest species of plants and animals are being safeguarded with a $32.9 million NSW Budget investment.

Dr Terry O'Dwyer releases a Lord Howe Woodhen after it was cared for by Taronga Zoo team as part of a captive management program during the baiting.

Treasurer Matt Kean said the funding over four years will support delivery of a comprehensive biosecurity regime to protect the Island from rats and other invasive species.

“Lord Howe Island has many threatened unique species that are found nowhere else on earth, and this $32.9 million being delivered in the NSW Budget will help us protect biodiversity on the island for generations to come,” Mr Kean said.

“This Budget funding helps us continue increasing biodiversity, and ensuring the natural values that attract people from around the world are protected in perpetuity.”

Minister for Environment James Griffin said this investment is a critical step towards protecting a global conservation icon.

“This is one of the biggest funding announcements for the Lord Howe Island in many years. It’s a win for the environment and for tourism, and builds on years of intensive work to control invasive species,” Mr Griffin said.

“Our pest control program has already doubled the population of Lord Howe Woodhens and supported the regeneration of many other native animals and plants.”

The funding will deliver infrastructure upgrades to prevent rats and other pests accessing the island, support quarantine programs using trained detector dogs, as well as other measures to inspect boats and planes that arrive at Lord Howe Island.

Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams said the funding will provide confidence for the Lord Howe Island community.

“I’m thrilled to see this investment in the conservation of one of the world’s most unique islands,” Ms Williams said.

“This announcement demonstrates the NSW Government is backing the community and providing support for the Lord Howe Island Board. It’s great to know Lord Howe Island will remain a natural wonder, attracting visitors from all over the world.”

Before the rodent control program began in 2019, there were thousands of rodents on the island, which decimated native plant and animal species, driving some to the brink of extinction.

Since the rodent eradication program began in 2019:

  • the population of Lord Howe Woodhens has more than doubled
  • there are increased numbers and breeding success for birds such as the black-winged petrel, masked booby and Lord Howe currawong
  • endemic ground geckos and invertebrates such as land snails are recovering
  • numerous plant species including the critically endangered little mountain palm have increased seedling and seed numbers.

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