In her Threatened Species Action Plan, Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek is pushing for 30% of Australia to be protected within the next ten years. While this may seem a lofty goal to some states, Victorians should pat themselves on the back for being overachievers and leading the way in land protection, Chief Executive Officer of VFPA, Deb Kerr said today.
With the release of last week’s Threatened Species & Communities Risk Assessment (TSCRA), 7.906 million out of 8.066 million hectares in the public land estate count toward Victoria’s National Reserve System (NRS). The area available for timber production declined to 160,000 ha. From this, additional protection zones will be applied, further reducing the area. These special areas of protection also count towards Victoria’s NRS.
“The TSCRA means that Victoria now has at least 34.7% of its land mass protected, therefore more than meeting the Federal Minister’s new 30% requirement,” said Deb Kerr.
“Victoria doesn’t need any more national parks – we just need to better manage our existing parks to improve the resilience of our native plants and animals by removing the biggest threat – invasive species like feral cats and foxes – and to actively manage these areas for ecological outcomes and to reduce fire risks.”
“New additions to the NRS would only come from private land in Victoria, and the high level of Victorian land already set aside in the NRS means that Victoria can rest easy – our contribution is done,” concluded Deb Kerr.