Philanthropists and Corporates Called on to Help Save Threatened Species
22 February 2017 at 3:08 pm
Businesses and philanthropists have been asked to partner with the federal government in a new approach to save Australia’s threatened species with the launch of a new prospectus.
Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg said the prospectus was “an invitation to business, industry and the philanthropic sector, both big and small, to join in protecting species such as the platypus, bilby, cassowary and numbat”.
He said the prospectus included more than 50 community-based projects that were ready to be put into action.
“The project proposals are backed by the science and the passionate local communities who are already on the ground across Australia working hard to save our species,” Frydenberg said.
“The prospectus builds on the government’s links to Australian businesses through the Threatened Species Strategy.
“Already BHP Billiton is investing $5.4 million to help save the world’s biggest green turtle hatchery on Raine Island in the Great Barrier Reef, while companies like Google have contributed by building and launching a new mobile app to support citizen scientists to record and track platypuses.”
In 2014 the Coalition government appointed Australia’s first Threatened Species Commissioner and in 2015 launched the threatened species strategy, a national science-based plan to save native plants and animals.
“Our approach has mobilised more than $210 million in support of threatened species and thanks to almost 1,000 projects across Australia under the threatened species strategy, the futures of many of our animals and plants are more secure,” Frydenberg said.
“Trajectories of species like our endangered mountain pygmy possum and critically endangered helmeted honeyeater are already turning around.”
He said the announcement also coincided with an agreement between Taronga Zoo and the San Diego Zoo to exchange two “remarkable animals” – the Australian platypus and the African Okapi.
San Diego Zoo already has custodianship of four Tasmanian Devils which are raising awareness in the US of the species’ plight and Australia’s fight to save them.
“By releasing this prospectus, I am signalling the next step in the Australian government’s new approach to reversing the decline in population of our threatened plants and animals,” Frydenberg said in the opening statement of the prospectus.
“Strong partnerships are critical to saving our threatened species. They bring together volunteers, community and conservation groups, scientists, farmers, businesses, and state and territory governments to protect the bush and its wildlife.
“The Australian government is making a very significant investment and policy commitment to conserve these species, and so are our states and territories. I am now looking beyond government, to challenge the business, industry and philanthropic sectors to join us in the battle to prevent further extinctions.”
Threatened Species Commissioner Gregory Andrews told Pro Bono News: “The prospectus, in effect, is saying we have all got a role to play in fighting extinction and we want to grow the bucket of money available to save our animals and plants.
“It is an invitation for the private sector and philanthropists to join us to save Australian species.
“The prospectus has 51 projects that total about $50 million. And they range from a project to save the Golden Shouldered Parrot which is $77,000 as well as a project worth $5 million.
“Each project has been designed on the basis of support for the recovery of that species and the Golden Shouldered Parrot project is working with the traditional owners to manage weed and pests in the parrot’s habitat.
“That contrasts with a project worth say $2 million over five years to save the Mallee Emu Wren which is about re-establishing a population in South Australia.”
He said he believed there was an appetite across individual philanthropists, wealthy individuals and businesses to help save Australia’s threatened species.
“I know that there is already a movement out there. So I am really confident. The strategy is about us being organised and us saying we have got this strategy, it’s based on science and it offers tangible action and partnerships and here are 50 projects that have come up from the community… that have been road tested and scrutinised by my office to make sure that they will work,” he said.
“We all have a role to play. I am committed to growing resources as much as possible to the fight extinction of our animals and plants.”
The prospectus is available here.