Species Expert Assessment Plans in response to the 2019–20 bushfires
The unprecedented summer bushfires of 2019–20 have had a devastating impact on Australia’s natural and cultural values. The Australian Government is investing $200 million to support the recovery of native wildlife and their habitats from the devastating impacts of the bushfires.
The department is implementing projects to support the recovery of wildlife and ecological communities that were fire-affected, as well as helping to improve their resilience to future fire events.
This will be achieved through accelerated science-based listing assessments of fire-affected species and ecological communities, and some at risk of impacts from future fire events to update conservation and recovery planning documents. This will lead to increased protection under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) through modifications to the national Threatened Species and Ecological Communities list where warranted.
Accelerating listing assessments
As part of the Australian Government’s bushfire response the department will accelerate the speed and number of listing assessments by utilising expert scientific groups to undertake listing assessments on groups of species or ecological communities. These groups will be based on a taxonomic grouping or geographic region. Experts will be required to develop status reviews, listing assessments and conservation advices that meet EPBC Act requirements.
The Species Expert Assessment Plans will be for both fire-affected and non-fire affected species and ecological communities over a two-year period and will build on other work to accelerate listing assessments.
Species and ecological communities will be assessed against EPBC Act criteria for threatened listing status. Both fire-affected and non-fire affected species are being considered to help ensure that EPBC Act lists are as current and accurate as possible, helping with environmental resilience and preparedness for future fire events.
The department will conduct competitive processes that will include both open and limited approaches to the market seeking to engage teams of experts to tender for specific Species Expert Assessment Plans.
It is anticipated that approaches to the market will be in the next two months, with contracts being awarded by June 2021. All the contracts will finish by June 2022.
Species and ecological communities under consideration
The following groups are currently being considered:
- freshwater fish
- freshwater turtles
- lizards and snakes
- terrestrial mammals
- rainforests and wet forests of south-east Australia.
Anyone interested in information updates on the Species Expert Assessment Plans project and approaches to the market please email your contact details to BushfireRecovery@environment.gov.au.