The Australian Conservation Foundation has welcomed the Albanese government’s new threatened species objective: to prevent new extinctions of plants and animals.

“Extinction is a choice,” said ACF’s nature program manager Basha Stasak.

“This objective announced by Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek is ambitious but essential if future generations of Australians are to see animals like koalas, mountain pygmy possums, greater gliders and gang gang cockatoos.

“Stopping the destruction of wildlife habitat is the key to achieving this objective,” she said.

“Unfortunately, Australia has a woeful record when it comes to protecting our unique species. Australia is a world leader in sending mammals to extinction and it is largely because we keep destroying their homes.

“To prevent extinctions it will be critical for the government to strengthen our national environment law – which Professor Graeme Samuel’s independent review found is failing to protect animals, plants and ecosystems – and adequately fund threatened species recovery.

“Scientists estimate $1.69 billion a year is needed to tackle Australia’s extinction crisis. We urge the government to include funding to halt extinction in this month’s federal budget.

“ACF also welcomes the objective to protect at least 30% of Australia’s land. The protected areas need to be ecologically representative. More than 1,500 of Australia’s unique ecosystems on land and sea lack adequate protection.

Recent research by ACF shows roughly half Australia’s GDP (49% or $896 billion) has a moderate to very high direct dependence on nature.

“Every single dollar that flows through the Australian economy depends to some degree on the health and survival of natural systems.

“We urge Minister Plibersek to champion a global goal to end extinction in the upcoming global Biodiversity Framework negotiations at COP15 of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Montréal, Canada, in December.”

The government’s new action plan prioritises 110 species and 20 places, including Bruny Island, French Island, Kangaroo Island, Christmas Island, Norfolk Island and Raine Island.

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