Around 25% of Australia’s threatened plants and 46% of threatened animals can be found in cities and towns, but habitat destruction for urban sprawl is fast-tracking the extinction crisis, a new report by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) reveals.

The report finds:

  • In the first 17 years of operation of Australia’s national environment laws, at least 20,212 hectares of forested urban threatened species habitat was destroyed, an area the size of 11,400 MCGs.
  • More forested urban habitat was destroyed in Queensland (12,923 hectares) than in any other state.
  • The five worst urban areas for forested habitat destruction between 2000 and 2017 were Brisbane, Gold Coast–Tweed Heads, Townsville, Sunshine Coast and Sydney.
  • The five species worst affected were the Red goshawk (14,877 hectares), the Grey-headed flying fox (13,522ha), the Koala (13,053ha), the Australasian bittern (12,274ha) and the Regent honeyeater (9,242ha).

“While national parks and protected areas are essential to safeguard biodiversity, our cities and towns also provide critical habitat for threatened species,” said ACF Nature Campaigner Jess Abrahams.

“Around 25% of Australia’s nationally listed threatened plants and 46% of threatened animals can be found in cities, towns and suburbs.

“While many of these species also have habitat outside cities and towns, for 39 threatened species, these urban areas are the last remaining places where they exist.

“Australians love nature and 90% of us live in cities and towns. But our laws are failing to protect urban habitat from greedy property developers who are destroying bushland for a quick buck.

“Australia needs strong environment laws, an independent regulator, and a $4.5 billion job-creating investment in the long-term protection and recovery of our unique wildlife.”

The extinction crisis in Australia’s cities and towns, released today, details the little-known prevalence of federally listed threatened plants and animals in the 99 Australian cities and towns with over 10,000 people – and the extent of forested habitat destruction in those areas under Australia’s weak national environment laws.

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Josh Meadows on 0439 342 992. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email action@mail.acf.org.au