Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon. Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

2011 Finalised Priority Assessment List announced

Media release
14 September 2011

Environment Minister Tony Burke today released the 2011 list of priority native species, ecological communities and threatening processes to be considered for protection under national law.

The 2011 Finalised Priority Assessment List includes six ecological communities, one key threatening process and seven species.

Although currently listed as threatened the Australian painted snipe, the northern and southern corroboree tree frog, and iconic Eyre Peninsula Blue Gum are currently being assessed for a listing in a higher threat category.

The impact of noisy miner birds on other native smaller birds will also be assessed to identify whether further and more coordinated national measures are required to manage this threat.

Nominations for the list were open to the public until 24 March 2011.

The Threatened Species Scientific Committee assessed all nominations and made recommendations on priorities for the coming year.

"After careful consideration I have accepted the recommendations of the Committee to assess these priority species, communities and threats," Mr Burke said.

The Committee will assess these species and their habitat and invite expert and public comment, before providing advice to the Government on whether they are eligible for listing as threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

"Although it has not been possible to include all nominations on the priority list, it's important to remember that national listing is not an end in itself. It is a trigger for targeted conservation activities and should complement existing efforts to protect our unique environment," Mr Burke said.

"The Government is investing more than $2 billion through the Caring for Our Country program over five years to secure the future of Australia's unique biodiversity and ecosystems. This investment will help reduce the need for listing threatened species in the first place by identifying and addressing threats."

Over the next four years up to $80 million in research will be funded through the National Environmental Research Program which funds programs to improve understanding, management and conservation of Australia's unique biodiversity and ecosystems through world-class research.

"I received advice that there is currently not enough information to properly assess the dingo and the snubfin dolphin," Mr Burke said.

"That is why I have prioritised research under the National Environmental Research Program and the Australian Marine Mammal Grants Program to collect this information.

"Over the last few years, I have approved grants to support a better understanding of the distribution, abundance and status of the dolphin populations in Northern Australian waters.

"In particular I am pleased to announced the Bill Dawbin Postdoctoral Fellowship for Applied Strategic Cetacean Research, worth $440 000, to James Cook University Marine Scientist, Dr Isabel Beasley.

"The project will investigate the distribution of Australian snubfin and humpback dolphins in key areas in Northern Australia in collaboration with Indigenous Sea Rangers and Traditional Owners.

"There will be preliminary information available next year that the Committee will be able to consider that will provide a stronger foundation to be able to consider whether listing is appropriate.

"I am hopeful that we will be able to collect enough information to do a proper assessment before long."

For more information and a full copy of the 2011 Finalised Priority Assessment List go to http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/index.html.