The Federal government says it is delivering on its commitment to fund local wildlife and habitat recovery programs across areas affected by the devastating Black Summer bushfires, with $12-million now awarded to 37 projects over two grants rounds.
Projects that are being funded span from the south east of Queensland, down to Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia, and cover a range of interventions from feral pest control and the removal of noxious weeds, to translocations and the protection of native threatened plants and animals.
Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley, said the latest grants are part of a promised $200-million bushfire recovery package, with the second round of grants focusing on the recovery of priority plants and invertebrates.
Entire ecology devastated
“I have visited regions affected by the fires and have seen [at] first hand the catastrophic damage caused – to not just the habitat and wildlife but to the entire ecology of the area,” the Minister said.
“Threatened species as diverse as the Green Carpenter Bee, Glenelg Freshwater Mussel and 14 orchid species will benefit from on-ground action to recover their habitat and surveys to map the impact of the fires on their populations.
“This round of projects will also benefit over 75 of the priority plant species and almost 100 of the priority invertebrate species identified by the Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel for urgent management intervention.”
Wildlife damage immense
Weighing into the discussion, the Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, said that with 33-million hectares of land burnt, the impact of last summer’s bushfires on Australia’s native wildlife and their habitats had been immense.
“These projects are being funded through an initial $50-million investment in wildlife and habitat bushfire recovery. They are contributing to the critical action needed to help our precious species recover from the devastating impacts of the Black Summer bushfires,” Littleproud noted.
He added that an additional $150-million has been committed to support the sustained efforts required for the long-term recovery of native animals and plants. This work would also contribute towards the long-term recovery of eco-tourism, which is a vital industry in many affected regions.