During the summer of 2019-20, Australia experienced extreme bushfires across many areas of the country. The number of fires, their severity and extent, and the damage caused to infrastructure and the environment were unprecedented. The fires covered almost 8 million hectares and included 54 per cent of the World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests, which have existed for tens of millions of years. In many places, the fires burnt with an unusually high intensity.
In January 2020, a Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel was convened to assist in prioritising recovery actions for native species, ecological communities, natural assets and their cultural values for Indigenous Australians, affected by the 2019-20 extreme fire events.
The Expert Panel described the impacts of the bushfires as an ecological disaster. They identified 810 native animals, plants and ecological communities in need of urgent management intervention and provided advice on the types of actions that would support their recovery.
The Australian Government is investing $200 million to help native wildlife and their habitats recover from the devastating impacts of the fires. The investment priorities are being informed by scientific and local expertise, and many projects have been co-designed with bushfire-affected communities.
This investment will help secure the future of treasured native animals, from the Koala to the Kangaroo Island Dunnart and the Northern Corroboree Frog, as well as unique plants such as the Wollemi Pine, Monga Waratah and Gippsland Bottlebrush.
Whether on the ground, or in vital research and planning, important work is happening across bushfire-affected regions and heritage places to give our precious plants and animals the best chance at survival and long-term recovery.