SOURCE: ABC News (Australia)

DATE: June 23, 2019

SNIP: Australia has the highest rate of mammal extinctions in the world and is the fourth worst for animal extinctions globally.

There are more than 1,800 plants and animals on Australia’s threatened species list, including more than 500 animals.

By analysing state and federal budgets, scientists from the government-funded Threatened Species Recovery Hub research group have found Australian governments are spending a fraction of what is needed to conserve all the wildlife on the list.

Research hub director Professor Brendan Wintle said Australia was already “picking winners and losers”.

“We’re currently spending about a tenth of what we need to spend,” he said.

“By not funding all species to the level that’s required to keep them in the game, we’re essentially allowing quite a lot of species to fail.”

The Federal Government says it has invested more than $400 million in threatened species recovery efforts, but Professor Wintle said analysis showed targeted spending by the federal and state governments totalled only about $121 million.

“Unfortunately, our legislation falls down in the sense that it doesn’t mandate spending of a sufficient magnitude to actually avoid extinctions,” he said.

Professor Wintle said a third of Australia’s threatened species were not being monitored.

“We could be losing them and we wouldn’t know,” he said.

“If we want it to stop, we’re going to have to do a lot more than we’re currently doing.”