To estimate the amount of direct expenditure by Australian governments on threatened species recovery aggregated across the Commonwealth, states and territories, and estimate how much Australia should have been spending to prevent further biodiversity loss
Type of Study:
The upper limit of expenditure to recover threatened species in Australia, including direct expenditure and other investment, was estimated to be AU$391 million in 2018-19 and AU$766 million in 2017-18. This level of funding is estimated to be about 15% of what is needed to avoid extinctions and recover threatened species. Across all Australian states, territories and commonwealth jurisdictions, around AU$122m/year is allocated towards targeted threatened species recovery, is about US$51,000 per extant EPBC Act listed species per year. Between 2011 and 2016 the U.S. government spent at least US$1.45b/year on direct threatened species conservation and recovery actions, which is about US$903m per threatened species per year. Evidence suggests that spending by the US is sufficient to achieve relatively strong recovery in listed species, e.g. 85% of birds listed in U.S achieve documented stabilisation or recovery. Funding Australian threatened species recovery at $/species rate of funding provided to species recovery in the U.S would result in an approximately 20-fold increase in funding in Australia compared with current expenditure. When accounting for Australia’s disproportionally large invasive species problem, actual cost of recovering threatened species is estimated at AU$1.29b/year. This is less than half the amount of money Australians spent on pet care in 2019.
Harry Moore Keller Kopf
Wintle B. A., Cadenhead N. C. R., Morgain R. A. et al. (2019) Spending to save: What will it cost to halt Australia's extinction crisis? Conserv. Lett.