As the Morrison Government continues it $200 million roll out of bushfire wildlife and habitat recovery programs, I have today announced that the threatened listing status of 28 species, including the koala and the Greater Glider, will be formally assessed.
Building on the work of our expert panel in mapping the scale of the fires and their impact on Australia’s animals, plants and ecological communities, and work by the Threatened Species Scientific Committee to date, I am expecting that a considerable number of other fire-affected species and ecological communities may require assessment for potential listing, or ‘up-listing’.
For this reason, I have decided that, in addition to the normal annual nomination process, that the committee will conduct a series of interim nomination and prioritisation processes over the next two years, with another in December this year and again in April 2021.
The additional nomination opportunities will allow further bushfire-affected species to be considered for assessment, particularly as more information emerges over the coming months from the Morrison Government’s $6.7 million investment in mapping and monitoring of species after the fires.
The Morrison Government has provided $28 million to support further scientific assessment, planning and departmental coordination for our most at-risk species under Australia’s national environmental law, and to understand the actions needed to recover these species.
The 28 species included in the initial Finalised Priority Assessment List for formal assessment in the 2020 period include two reptiles, four frogs, seven fish, six mammals and twelve birds, bringing the total number of species being assessed to 108.
As part of the ongoing cycle of nomination processes over the next two years, we anticipate that high profile species, as well as lesser known plants and animal species that are also vital to healthy ecosystems, will be assessed to understand the urgency of threats to each species.
After formally prioritising a species for assessment, the committee will gather and review all information about the species, consult with expert scientists, indigenous communities, land managers and the public to inform their recommendations to me about potential listing.
This process is critical in ensuring threatened species are given strategic protection, are eligible for targeted funding and that awareness is raised about the issues impacting them.
Formal consultation will begin from October 1.
Species on the 2020 list include: Mountain Skink (ACT, NSW, VIC); Oakview Leaf-tailed Gecko (QLD); Davie’s Tree Frog (NSW); Pugh’s Frog (NSW); Sphagnum Frog (NSW); Dendy’s Toadlet (ACT, NSW, VIC); Cann Galaxias (VIC); Roundsnout Galaxias (NSW, VIC); Yalmy Galaxias (VIC); Blue Mountains Perch (NSW); Non-parasitic Lamprey (NSW, QLD, VIC); Oxleyan Pygmy Perch (NSW, QLD); Freshwater Sawfish (NT, QLD, WA); Parma Wallaby (NSW); Long-nosed Bandicoot (ACT, NSW,QLD,VIC); Greater Glider (ACT, NSW, QLD, VIC); Yellow-bellied Glider (ACT, NSW, QLD, SA, VIC); Koala combined populations of QLD, NSW and the ACT); Long-nosed Potoroo (NSW,QLD, SA, VIC); Kangaroo Island Striated Thornbill (SA); Kangaroo Island Little Wattlebird (SA); Kangaroo Island Shy Heath wren (SA); Kangaroo Island Brown-headed Honeyeater (SA); Kangaroo Island Crimson Rosella (SA); Kangaroo Island Western Whipbird (SA); Beautiful Firetail (SA); Kangaroo Island Southern Emu wren (SA).
The combined koala population of Queensland, NSW and the ACT (currently listed as vulnerable in those areas) was publicly-nominated for assessment. More than 10 per cent of the range of the listed population was impacted by bushfire, coupled with concerns about the impacts of drought and habitat loss and degradation. During the fires Minister Ley expressly requested the committee consider the need for the uplisting of the koala’s status.
The Greater Glider (currently listed as vulnerable) has had approximately 30 per cent of its range affected by the 2019-20 bushfires. The Bushfire Expert Panel has prioritised the species for urgent management action.
This year’s Finalised Priority Assessment List can be found here: https://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/assessments/fpal