Pathways to 30 by 30 – new report

Today The Nature Conservancy (TNC), WWF-Australia, Pew Charitable Trusts and the Australian Land Conservation Alliance (ALCA) jointly released the Pathways to 30×30 Report on how Australia can meet its commitment to protecting at least 30% of its land by 2030 (30×30).  

The report outlines four key recommendations for Australia to reach this ambitious target:  

  1. The creation of a dedicated $5 billion fund to purchase land of high biodiversity value for new public, private or Indigenous Protected Areas.  
  2. Continued investment into Indigenous Protected Areas: through this program, traditional knowledge is integrated with modern conservation strategies, creating a unique approach to environmental protection. 
  3. Support for the uptake of permanent private land conservation through direct federal support to state and territory private conservation covenant programs. A review into Federal and state taxes, incentives and barriers on private land conservation is also critical. 
  4. Partnerships with states and territories to identify areas of high conservation significance on unallocated land and transition them into conservation tenures. 

Alison Rowe, TNC’s Managing Director, said that the report provides a clear blueprint the Australian Government can use to increase the protection of nature in Australia.

“Authored by practitioners, scientists and policy experts, the report outlines a number of science-based, practical recommendations for the Australian Government to not only reach its target, but also take on a leadership role at global level to help other countries meet their commitment,” she said.

In 2022, the Australian Government, along with governments from other countries, committed to protect at least 30% of Australia’s land and oceans by 2030, a target known as ‘30×30’.

Dr James Fitzsimons, Senior Advisor, Global Protection Strategies for TNC, and the report’s lead author, said that Australia already has the tools to do it, having expanded its network of protected areas from 7% in the mid-1990s to 22% today.

Using a science-based approach and a combination of public, private and Indigenous protected areas, Australia has steadily increased its protected areas. This includes some of our most threatened and underrepresented habitats such as native grasslands and wetlands,” he said.

Central to the report is that Australia’s existing science-based principles of comprehensiveness, adequacy and representative guides the 30×30 target.

Jason Lyddieth, National Protected Areas Campaign Manager, Pew Charitable Trusts, said Australians want to see more done to take care of our unique species and landscapes, with 97% saying they support more action to protect nature*. 

“We have already lost most of our native forests, and we have one of the highest rates of mammal extinction in the world. Protecting at least 30% of our land by 2030 is a chance to prevent wildlife extinctions, mitigate climate change, and maintain our air and water quality, so that communities and future generations can prosper.

“We know what to do to protect nature in Australia – what is required now is the political will to ensure that this critical work is supported and funded,” M. Lyddieth said.

Michael Cornish, Policy Lead, Australian Land Conservation Alliance (ALCA), said we need all hands on deck to halt and reverse nature loss and enable a successful pathway to protecting 30% of Australia’s land by 2030. 

“Across Australia there are many thousands of landholders who already protect, steward and restore land, including farmers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who continue their long history of sustaining the land we call home and their efforts create great benefits for people and the planet. With the right support, resourcing and policies, together we can scale up our work and do even more for our unique nature,” he said.

Stuart Blanch, Senior Manager, Towards Two Billion Trees, WWF-Australia, said the Australian Government has made the worthy and welcome pledge to protect at least 30% of Australia’s land, but it has yet to deliver the funding to make it happen. Not even close.

“To expand our protected area network by at least 60 million hectares, we need a massive investment in new national parks and Indigenous Protected Areas, and greater support for farmers and other private landholders.

“This will reap massive rewards for our biodiversity, carbon storage and climate resilience. It is an investment in our natural infrastructure, supporting the essential ecosystem services that underpin our major industries and our economy,” he said.

Download the full report

*Borg, K., Smith, L., Hatty, M., Dean, A., Louis, W., Bekessy, S., Williams, K., Morgain, R. & Wintle, B. Biodiversity Concerns Report: 97% of Australians want more action to protect nature. The Biodiversity Council, June, 2023.