Australia's Biodiversity Conservation Strategy

Five images - Yirralka Ranger; Castle Hill in Townsville; Wet Tropics of Queensland; Bore site near Jimbour; Wet Tropics of Queensland

Review of Australia's Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2010-2030

Australia is reviewing the first five years of Australia's Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (the Strategy) in 2015-16. This review is being undertaken for two reasons.

Firstly, the Strategy provides for a review every five years. The Strategy is a national framework guiding the biodiversity conservation policies and programmes of the Commonwealth, State and Territories, so that Australia's biodiversity is healthy and resilient to threats, and valued in its own right and for its essential contribution to our existence. As the Strategy was agreed in 2010, the first review is being undertaken in 2015-16.

Secondly, in addition to being a national framework, the Strategy is Australia's National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan under the Convention on Biological Diversity (the Convention). A National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan is the main instrument for each member to implement its obligations under the Convention at the national level.

The Convention is an international agreement for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. Australia has been a member of the Convention since 1993, which currently has 196 countries as members.

As a member of the Convention, we are requested to review, and as appropriate update and revise, our National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. This is to align with the Aichi Biodiversity Targets of the Convention's Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, which members to the Convention agreed, following the release of our National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan in 2010.

A number of other international agreements contain biodiversity-related obligations. Accordingly, the review will also consider whether the Strategy should be used to coordinate and integrate its implementation of all Australia's biodiversity-related international obligations. These agreements include the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

The Australian Government is working with all State and Territory Governments, and the Australian Local Government Association, through an inter-jurisdictional working group for the review.

Independent experts

Three independent experts have been engaged to provide high-level guidance and assurance to the working group over the course of the review.

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Mr Allan Holmes

Mr Allan Holmes

Mr Allan Holmes is a former senior member of the Victorian and South Australian governments with considerable experience in implementing environmental policy at the state level. He has a strong background in a range of environmental and scientific disciplines, including biochemistry, agriculture, forestry, land management, conservation and environmental protection.

Mr Holmes has a passion for promoting and encouraging community interest and debate in environmental issues through his involvement in multiple governance bodies and organisations including the Zero Waste SA board (Chair), the South Australian Environmental Protection Authority, the Parks Forum (Chair), the Nature Foundation SA, the Country Fire Service Board, the Australian Landcare Council, the Board of the Botanic Gardens & State Herbarium of SA, the Catherine House Board, and the SA Pastoral Land Management & Conservation Board.

Professor Jane Doolan

Professor Jane Doolan

Professor Jane Doolan was formerly the Deputy Secretary Water, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (Victoria). Her career encompasses intergovernmental policy development and negotiations, particularly in relation to the management of the Murray–Darling Basin, and the oversight of major water projects and programs.

Professor Doolan has managed significant river health, environmental water allocation, and catchment management issues and both the state and national levels. She has extensive experience in providing expert policy advice, including to the Victorian government on issues such as water allocation and river and catchment management, water sector governance and national water reform.

Professor Doolan holds a PhD in Zoology from the University of Melbourne and is a Professorial Fellow in Natural Resources Governance at the University of Canberra. She has recently taken up the position of Chair of the Murray-Darling Basin Freshwater Research Centre Governing Board.

Dr Mark Stafford Smith

Dr Mark Stafford Smith

Dr Mark Stafford Smith is Chief Coordinating Scientist, Adaptation, in CSIRO Australia, with over 30 years experience in a range of environmental science disciplines, including systems ecology, adaptation to climate change, earth systems science and sustainable development. He has also held senior roles in several environmental research bodies, including Program Leader of CSIRO Centre for Arid Zone Research in Alice Springs in the late 1990s, founding CEO of the Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre in the early 2000s, and Science Director of CSIRO's Climate Adaptation Flagship 2008-2014.

Internationally, Dr Stafford Smith was the vice-chair of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme's Scientific Committee, and co-chaired the Planet under Pressure: New Knowledge towards Solutions international global change conference in London in 2012 in the lead-up to Rio+20. Since 2013 he has been the inaugural chair of inaugural Science Committee of the Future Earth platform for coordinating research on global environmental change, and is engaged with research input to a range of international policy activities.

Scope of the review

The review will examine and report on:

  • The operation and implementation of the Strategy since its launch in 2010;
  • Alignment of the Strategy with the Convention's Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets, as well as relevant obligations of other biodiversity-related international agreements; and
  • Opportunities to improve and streamline the Strategy, while maintaining effective standards, including consideration of:
    • the robustness and durability of objectives;
    • responsibility and accountability for the delivery of outcomes; and
    • monitoring and reporting systems.

Background documents

Public consultation

The public consultation period closed on Friday 11 September. A range of submissions were received from interested persons and organisations. In addition, a number of stakeholders completed a survey on the Strategy.

If you missed the deadline for submissions and would like to contribute to the review, please contact the National Biodiversity Strategy Secretariat at to discuss any remaining opportunities to provide comment. Endeavours will be made to give consideration to all views; however, as the review progresses, it may not be practicable to consider submissions received outside of the consultation period.

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Further information