Media release

Poor budget for birds facing extinction

Wednesday, 15 May 2024

  • Estimated reading time 2 minutes

Federal Budget 2024: Poor budget for birds facing extinction

BirdLife Australia says the Federal Budget handed down yesterday demonstrates that the Australian Government continues to ignore the nation’s catastrophic biodiversity crisis as many of Australia’s native birds continue a flightpath to extinction in our own lifetimes. 

“This Budget is another missed opportunity by the Australian Government. We know how to stop extinctions. Good investment can bring species back from the brink,” said BirdLife Australia CEO Kate Millar. 

One in six of Australia’s birds are listed as endangered. The latest Threatened Bird Index reveals a 60 per cent decline in threatened Australian bird populations – in less than 40 years. Despite this index being a key indicator in the Albanese Government’s Measuring What Matters Framework, there is little in last night’s budget to turn around the trajectory of decline.   

“We only need to look at the critically endangered Swift Parrot, which is tracking toward extinction within the next 10 years, to know how urgent the situation is,” Ms Millar said. 

The deflating Budget follows recent delays to the promised reworking of Australia’s nature laws, now almost four years after a damning independent review outlined a clear path to repair. Ms Millar said the lack of threatened species investment in the Budget is another example of the Government failing to back up its promise of ‘no new extinctions’ in Australia. 

A 2019 assessment [1] by leading environmental scientists estimated it would cost around $1.69 billion a year to improve the status of all of Australia’s threatened species, including birds.  They pointed out that such figures are not unheard of, with the United States, comparable in biodiversity and economy, investing at least $2.1 billion annually from 2011 to 2016 on its endangered species recovery programs, leading to noticeable improvements in threatened birds in 2016. [2] 

“Tax breaks and subsidies for fossil fuels in this budget are more than 20 times the Government’s current spend on biodiversity. Without significant investment in recovery efforts, and protection of critical habitat, there is a very real possibility that Australia won’t live up to its promise of ending extinctions,” – Kate Millar CEO BirdLife Australia

“It is fully within the Federal Government’s power to turn this sorry tale of decline around and to halt extinctions, as promised. To do this, it needs to get serious about fixing our broken nature laws, and to match its rhetoric with funding. Sadly, this is another Federal Budget that is failing Australia’s threatened birds.”

BirdLife Australia CEO Kate Millar is available for comment.

BirdLife Australia Media Enquiries: Please contact James Johnson on 0423 659 324 or at media@birdlife.org.au.



[1] 2019, Wintle et al, Society for Conservation Biology, Conservation Letters Volume 12, Issue 6, ‘Spending to save: What will it cost to halt Australia’s extinction crisis?’, https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/conl.12682

[2] Suckling et al. (2016) A Wild Success: A Systematic Review of Bird Recovery Under the Endangered Species Act. Center for Biological Diversity. https://www.esasuccess.org/pdfs/WildSuccess.pdf