Myrtle rust action plan

Scrub myrtle (Rhodamnia rubsecens) has been so badly hit by myrtle rust since the disease reached Australia in 2010 that is was nominated for listing as critically endangered. Photo: Tim Low

Scrub myrtle (Rhodamnia rubsecens) has been so badly hit by myrtle rust since the disease reached Australia in 2010 that is was nominated for listing as critically endangered. Photo: Tim Low

Eight years after the plant-killing disease myrtle rust was discovered in Australia the federal government has released a draft action plan that provides a framework for a nationally coordinated environmental response.

Since the arrival of myrtle rust in Australia and the failed eradication attempt, there has been no coordinated action to mitigate the threat beyond the awareness program run by some states.

Myrtle rust has established in Queensland, NSW and the Northern Territory. It has gained a foothold in Victoria and Tasmania.

There are many urgent actions that can still be taken to limit the impact of myrtle rust in Austalia, prepare for losses and promote recovery. We must prevent it from spreading into South Australia and Western Australia, and halt new strains arriving in Australia.

Most importantly a coordinated, a funded response must occur.

Myrtle Rust is caused by the introduced fungal pathogen Austropuccinia psidii, and poses a serious and urgent threat to Australia’s native plants and animals. IT affects plant species in the family Myrtaceae (paperbarks, tea-trees, eucalypts, and lillipillies), which are key and often dominant species in many Australian ecosystems.

It has proved capable of infecting 358 native species and this number is likely to grow. Serious declines towards extinction are underway in some species, and broader ecological consequences are expected.

Myrtle rust is likely to have a significant impact on matters of national environmental significance protected under national environment law, including listed threatened species and ecological communities, wetlands of international importance, world heritage properties, and national heritage places.

Have your say

You have until 31 August 2018 to submit comments on the action plan. Email comments to: MRActionPlan@apbsf.org.au

We encourage you to urge that national, state and territory governments fund and rapidly implement the plan as a matter of national importance.

The plan is supported by an impact report: “Myrtle Rust reviewed: the impacts of the invasive pathogen Austropuccinia psidiion the Australian environment”.

Immense thanks go to the Australian Network for Plant Conservation’s Bob Makinson and others that contributed to the draft plan and impact report.

More info


Related posts

How would you like to be part of a global conservation project on one of the most unique and beautiful places in the world, Lord Howe Island? Photo of Lord Howe Island used courtesy of the Lord Howe Island Board, Lord Howe Tourism.
Opportunity of a lifetime on Lord Howe Island
Can we turn the global plastics catastrophe into an environmental win?
Rally for Kosci
The view out over Stanwell Park in NSW. Feral deer have been destroying local bushland. Photo: David McKelvey | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Feral deer destroying a lifetime of bushcare conservation
Imported roses and their many petals provide great hiding spots for invasive pests.
The ugly side of flowers
Sally Wayte, a Bushcare volunteer with the Friends of Knocklofty in Hobart, helps clear out gorse from bushland in Knocklofty Reserve. Photo: John Sampson Sally Wayte
More than just pulling weeds: the essential role we all play in biosecurity
Yellow crazy ants – Queensland comes to the party
Kirsha Kaechele has created an intriguing, challening and thought-provoking book about how we deal with invasive species. Photo: Mona Rémi Chauvin, Courtesy Mona Museum of Old and New Art
Eat the problem
Feral pigs caught in a trap in Victoria's far northwest.
Closing the gate on feral pigs in Victoria’s remote northwest
Red-whiskered bulbuls are a serious pest bird that damage fruit crops, spread weeds and compete with native bird species. Photo: Creepanta | CC BY-SA 4.0
Managing new pests in South Australia – what’s new?