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Threatened species get $24 million funding boost

Rottnest Island is famous for its quokkas, which are unique to the island. Photo: Getty

Rottnest Island is famous for its quokkas, which are unique to the island. Photo: Getty

More than 70 native species at risk of extinction will get a helping hand under a $24 million funding boost.

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek has promised to prevent further extinctions – a mammoth task given Australia has more than 2000 threatened plants and animals.

She has repeatedly described Australia’s existing nature laws as “broken” but recently alarmed conservation groups by delaying her promised overhaul of the legislation.

On Wednesday, the minister went to Sydney’s Taronga Zoo to announce 61 projects will each get grants of up to $500,000 to help a range of threatened plants and animals.

The money, which will help 73 species, is part of the government’s $550 million spend to protect native species, and deal with invasive pests.

Funded projects include efforts to increase the production of corroboree frog eggs and juveniles at captive breeding facilities for the critically endangered species.

The money will also fund the expansion of a release program for captive-bred Bellinger River snapping turtles, and efforts to better protect quokkas from foxes and cats in Western Australia’s Wellington National Park.

“Our government is committed to achieving our target of zero new extinctions in Australia and our $24 million investment in grassroots projects will help to better protect our threatened species,” Plibersek said.

“This funding is about supporting the dedicated scientists, conservationists, and passionate local community groups right across Australia who are working hard to save our precious native plants and animals.”

Environment groups were critical of last week’s federal budget, saying there was almost no money to help biodiversity and threatened ecosystems, at a time when Australia’s environment has never been sicker.

– AAP

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