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Fresh approach to extinction crisis is welcome

The Nature Conservation Council welcomes the NSW Government’s commitment to a new suite of measures to protect the state’s most threatened species and ecosystems. 

Environment Minister Matt Kean has committed to a target of zero extinctions in national parks and released details of a plan to designate key ecosystems and species as Assets of Intergenerational Significance (AIS) that will be protected through conservation action plans. [1] 

“The target of zero extinctions is exactly the level of ambition the public expects for our national parks,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said. 

“We would have hoped all species in our national parks —the most protected and valued ecosystems in the state—were already safe from extinction. 

“But this has not always been the case. The sad truth is the number of threatened species in NSW has increased over the past 230 years and the number now stands well above 1000. 

“The existing strategies to reverse the tide for species have clearly not been up to the job so we applaud the government for trying something new.” 

Mr Gambian said the government’s commitment to include natural assets, including species and ecosystems, in Bushfire Management Plans that cover national parks was a positive step and urged the government apply that approach to the whole state.   

“With the increasing severity of bushfires across NSW, it is crucial we identify those ecosystems and species that, once lost, can never be recovered,” he said. 

“We believe all Bushfire Management Plans across the whole state should identify areas of outstanding biodiversity, not just those plans that cover the national parks estate.  

“In other words, this approach should be tenure blind, applying equally to public and private land. 

“There is already potentially a mechanism to target such places through the process used to identify Areas of Outstanding Biodiversity Value. 

“We look forward to working with the government to making that a reality.” 

[1] Zero extinction target for NSW national parks welcomed by environment groups, The Guardian, 7-9-21 

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