‘No new extinctions’: Federal government vows to protect ever-growing list of threatened native species

By Candice Marshall 4 October 2022
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A new 10-year recovery plan for Australia’s threatened species has just been announced. Here’s what it involves.

The ‘Threatened Species Action Plan: Towards Zero Extinctions’ outlines some extremely ambitious targets, including the prevention of any new native animal or plant extinctions.

The plan identifies 110 animal and plant species, and 20 ecological communities as priorities, identified by independent scientists.

“Based on input from researchers and experts from the community, [the priorities list] will guide recovery actions that will benefit a broad range of threatened species and their habitats,” Ms Plibersek said.

To protect threatened species headed towards extinction, the government will spend $224.5 million on the Saving Native Species program.

The ten-year action plan also includes measures to conserve and protect at least 30 per cent of Australia’s land mass.

“These are the strongest targets we’ve ever seen,” said Ms Plibersek. “I will not shy away from difficult problems or accept environmental decline and extinction as inevitable.”

Ms Plibersek acknowledged the dire decline of the country’s unique animals, plants and ecosystems, as highlighted in the recent State of the Environment Report, which concluded that Australia’s environment is sick and getting sicker as the combined effects of climate change, pollution, land clearing and mining take a dangerous toll.

“The need for action has never been greater,” said Ms Plibersek.

“Our current approach has not been working. Australia is the mammal extinction capital of the world.

“If we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we’ll keep getting the same results.”

Related: State of the Environment report shows ‘shocking’ decline of Australia’s wildlife and natural ecosystems

New threatened species listings

Ms Plibersek also used today’s announcement to declare new listing decisions for 20 threatened animal and plant species, and three threatened ecological communities.

Many of these species were very badly affected by the 2019/2020 bushfires.

Our native wildlife continues to be threatened by climate change, by natural disasters, by feral predators, and by human activity,” Ms Plibersek said.

“The Black Summer bushfires in particular have seen devastating results for many species. We are determined to give wildlife a better chance.

“Listing species as threatened under national environment law is a critical step in protecting the species and habitats in need of urgent help.”

Of the 20 updated listings, 15 species and three ecological communities have been added to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act list of threatened species. Four species have been upgraded to a higher threat category, and one species retains its current threat category.

The stirling range dryandra (Banksia monana) has been uplisted from Endangered to Critically Endangered. Image credit: shutterstock


Added as Critically Endangered:

-Malanda rainbowfish (Melanotaenia sp. nov.)

-Gravel downs ctenotus (Ctenotus serotinus)

Added as Endangered:

-Western beautiful firetail (Stagonopleura bella samueli)

-Grey snake (Hemiaspis damelii)

-Key’s matchstick grasshopper (Keyacris scurra)

Retained as Endangered:

-Oxleyan pygmy perch (Nannoperca oxleyana)

Added as Vulnerable:

-Parma wallaby (Macropus parma)

The Mount Kaputar pink slug (Triboniophorus aff. graeffei) is part of the ‘Mount Kaputar land snail and slug community’, listed as Endangered. Image credit: Michael Murphy


Added as Critically Endangered:

-White star-bush (Asterolasia asteriscophora subsp. albiflora)

-Coastal leek orchid (Prasophyllum litorale)

-Headland commersonia (Commersonia perkinsiana)

Uplisted from Endangered to Critically Endangered:

-Yellow mountain bell (Darwinia collina)

-Stirling range dryandra (Banksia monana)

Uplisted from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered:

-Grey deua pomaderris  (Pomaderris gilmourii var. cana)

Added as Endangered:

-Large-fruited Denhamia

-Johnson’s Cycad

-Bertya sp. Clouds Creek (M.Fatemi 4)

-Pretty Beard Orchid

-Bird Orchid or Duck’s-head wasp orchid

-Pomaderris gilmourii var. gilmourii

Uplisted from Vulnerable to Endangered:

Corokia whiteana 


Added as Critically Endangered:

-Ben Halls Gap Sphagnum Moss Cool Temperate Rainforest

Added as Endangered:

-Mount Kaputar land snail and slug community

Related: Will we at last get the environment laws we need?