27 September 2023

Review finds bushfire recovery on track

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The recovery of Australian native species and habitats devastated in the 2019/2020 bushfires is making progress according to a review conducted by the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment’s Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC).

The Committee’s 10-point Bushfire Response Plan (one year review) reveals progress in all actions, including the delivery of accelerated assessments for species like the Gang Cockatoo, Kangaroo Island Dunnart and the Greater Glider.

Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley said the plant review was the most comprehensive review of plant species ever undertaken.

“Timely and robust assessment of actions under the TSSC’s Bushfire Response Plan is invaluable for supporting fire-affected species and ecosystem recovery,” Ms Ley said.

“While the fires were still burning in 2020, we were developing strategies to bring together wildlife experts, land managers and threatened species scientists and the report shows how valuable that process has been,” she said.

“Practically, it means we have been able to establish species coordinators to manage the recovery of our native wildlife and invest in critical habitat restoration programs that have seen nest hollows created for the Gang Cockatoo and nest boxes for the Greater Glider.”

Ms Ley said that, so far, 116 species and seven ecological communities affected by the fires had been prioritised for assessment, with foundational work underway to support the long-term recovery of several hundred more.

The Minister said that, through TSSC’s new Species Expert Assessment Plans project, scientific experts across the country were collaborating to determine how individual species had been affected and what actions were a priority for their conservation.

“Updated or new science-based conservation advice for 37 priority fire-affected entities is being assessed by the TSSC, with targeted conservation information for a lot more species and ecological communities in the pipeline,” she said.

Ms Ley said TSSC was collaborating on the Project with Australian, State and Territory Governments, the Threatened Species Commissioner, Indigenous people, scientific experts and non-Government organisations.

TSSC’s nine-page 10-point Bushfire Response Plan review can be accessed at this PS News link.

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