The Australian Government has committed $200 million to help native wildlife and their habitats recover from the devastating impacts of the 2019-20 bushfires. The work of the Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel and the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment in identifying impacts and prioritising recovery actions for native species, ecological communities and other natural assets has helped guide these investments.
Phase 1 – Emergency Response
In January 2020, the Australian Government announced an initial $50 million Wildlife and Habitat Bushfire Recovery investment. The investment includes:
- $13 million to state and territory governments for on-ground emergency interventions and priority recovery activities
- $7 million for Natural Resource Management organisations for emergency interventions including control of feral predators, other pest animals and weeds, and habitat protection measures
- $11.9 million in Wildlife and Habitat Bushfire Recovery Program grants
- $5 million for Greening Australia to increase supply of seed and native plants for revegetation and up to $2.5 million for Conservation Volunteers Australia to mobilise volunteers through a national coordination point
- $10.3 million for wildlife rescue and care services and establishment of insurance populations of at-risk species, including captive breeding and genetic analyses.
These funds have been fully contracted and activities are well underway to support the survival of affected animals, plants and ecological communities, to support wildlife rescue, and engage the community in bushfire recovery. Most projects will conclude in June 2021. Some projects have been granted approval to conclude after June due to delays in implementation caused by the impacts of COVID-19 and/or the March 2021 floods. As at 30 September 2021, over $47 million of these funds have been paid to funding recipients and further payments will be made incrementally on achievement of milestones set down in contracts.
Phase 2 – Recovery and Resilience
In May 2020, the Australian Government announced a further $150 million would become available over two years from 1 July 2020 to support the sustained efforts required for the long-term recovery of our native animals and plants. This includes:
- $110 million Regional Fund for strategic on-ground support for the most impacted native species, ecological communities and natural assets across seven bushfire-affected regions
- $10 million in grants to help communities to conserve their local environment and drive bushfire recovery action
- $2 million to support knowledge exchange on Indigenous fire and land management
- $28 million for further scientific assessment, species planning, coordination and monitoring, and program administration. This includes $2 million to support a national Koala population monitoring program.
As at 30 September 2021, over $139 million has been committed. This includes Federation Funding Agreements with state governments, work orders issued to Natural Resource Management organisations, grants and $28 million in funding provided to the department to administer the program and support species assessments, planning and monitoring. Remaining funds will be contracted by November 2021.
Payments are made incrementally on achievement of milestones set out in funding agreements and over $64 million has been paid. This includes $37 million paid against funding agreements with states, NRM organisations and grantees and $28 million in departmental funds dedicated to bushfire delivery.
A detailed list of funded projects is included on the Activities and Outcomes page.