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Annual Report 2010–11
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- A draft marine bioregional plan and a Commonwealth marine reserve network proposal for the South-west Marine Region were launched for public consultation by the minister on 5 May 2011.
- The Australian Government Support Plan for the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security, including an associated $2.5 million package of support for activities in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste was finalised.
- The department worked with the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency to develop the government response to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Climate Change, Water, Environment and the Arts inquiry report Managing our coastal zone in a changing climate: the time to act is now, which was tabled in parliament on 23 November 2010.
- In April 2011, Australia, on behalf of the International Whaling Commission Small Advisory Group of Conservation Management Plans, submitted a framework for conservation management plans. The conservation management plan framework represents a milestone for this initiative and is the culmination of more than three years of work by the department. This will lead to the development and implementation of conservation management plans for nominated priority cetacean species throughout the world. Australia has also begun to incorporate aspects of the conservation management plan framework into its national plans for the recovery and protection of cetacean species in Australian waters, ensuring Australian conservation measures remain consistent with international best practice.
- A new threat abatement plan was developed for the biological effects, including lethal toxic ingestion, caused by cane toads. The plan provides a targeted response to protect those native species and ecological communities most at risk from the impacts of cane toads.
- A new threat abatement plan commenced to reduce the impacts of gamba grass and other introduced grasses on the biodiversity in northern Australia.
- In 2010–11, 28 new species and two ecological communities were listed for protection under the EPBC Act, with a further 12 species and 17 ecological communities undergoing assessment for possible listing.
- In 2010–11, 428 new referrals were received 150 referrals were determined to require formal assessment and approval under the EPBC Act. 103 proposals were approved under the EPBC Act, including three major coal seam gas developments, comprising 13 individual referrals, in south-east Queensland.
- Strategic assessments continue to break new ground and promote ecologically sustainable development. In April 2011 the minister endorsed the Midlands Water Scheme, which is a major new irrigation project in Tasmania. This is the second strategic assessment to be endorsed under the EPBC Act.
- Three butterfly subspecies, six plant species and one bullfrog species were added to Appendix III of CITES list, established under the EPBC Act.
- A number of significant investigations were completed, resulting in four criminal penalties, two enforceable undertakings, three remediation determinations, three infringement notices issued and one injunction.
- More than 4 200 species names and 370 families were added to the Australian Faunal Directory, which is managed by the ABRS and funded largely through the Atlas of Living Australia.
- ABRS conducted five Bush Blitz surveys on National Reserve System properties—an area totalling almost 1 million hectares in South Australia, Western Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. As part of the Bush Blitz partnership arrangements, BHP Billiton employee volunteers actively participated in the Bon Bon survey in central South Australia.
- The ABRS partnered with the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to award two overseas fellowships for taxonomic research into Australian biota. Dr Amber Beavis, winner of the fellowship for early career researchers, will study spiders (Araneae), while Dr Paul Doherty, winner of the fellowship for established researchers, will study the biodiversity of Australian frogs and reptiles and describe a plethora of new species.