Protecting 30% of nature by 2030

It is clear that Australia’s environment is not doing well. Climate change, habitat destruction, ocean acidification, extinction, and soil, river and coastal health have all worsened – nature needs immediate intervention.

The Australian Government has committed to protecting 30% of Australia’s land and sea by 2030 as part of a plan to ‘halt and reverse biodiversity loss across our nation and put Australia’s environment back on a path of recovery’. This is a significant step towards protecting our living world, but is it enough?

There is a remarkable difference between protecting 30% of Australia and protecting 30% of Australia’s biological diversity (ecosystems and species) – we need an evidence-based 30% protection of Australia, not 30% wherever.

Another growing concern is the shift towards underfunded NGOs, Traditional Owners and private-land holders. The lack of government funding for large swathes of privately protected areas means owners must turn to market-based approaches or philanthropy in an effort to cover management costs.

While expanding protected areas is a worthy goal, lines on a map do not equate to protection.

Many of South Australia’s ‘protected areas’ are, in fact, open to destructive land uses including mining and grazing. The Australian Government must therefore truly protect these areas through environmental law.

We call on the Australian Federal Government to:

  • Significantly increase funding for land purchases and ongoing management
  • Be evidence-based and representative in protecting nature
  • Protect the National Reserve System through environmental law
  • Increase long-term financial security and support for Traditional Owners
  • Be independent when auditing protected areas.

Nature needs us to be bold and ambitious.