KTPs & TAPs – Australia’s failure to abate threats to biodiversity

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May 2018

Australia’s national processes to protect and recover threatened biodiversity are failing. One major reason for this are deficient processes for mitigating major threats – listing key threatening processes (KTPs) and preparing and implementing threat abatement plans (TAPs) under the Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Our aim with this paper is to stimulate discussion within the environment sector (government and non-government) about the changes needed to strengthen Australia’s threat abatement processes. We invite feedback and ideas. We hope to hold a workshop in 2018 to develop a conservation sector proposal for reform.

Major findings of our paper include:

  • The leading threats to Australian biodiversity are either not listed as ‘key threatening processes’ (KTPs) or are moribund listings that lack a ‘threat abatement plan’ (TAP).
  • KTP nominations assessed over the past decade have taken from three to seven years to accept or reject, and one still under assessment is more than 10 years old.
  • Almost a third of listed KTPs have no abatement plan, including KTPs for which the threat level is rising, and fewer than one-third of KTPs have an up-to-date plan.
  • Fewer than 40% of KTP listings have achieve moderate to good progress on threat abatement.

KTP listings are intended to identify major threats to biodiversity and, through a TAP or other processes, drive collaborative national action to mitigate those threats. Currently, 21 KTPs are listed. Collectively, they imperil thousands of threatened species and ecological communities.

In this discussion paper we ask the following questions:

  • How systematic and efficient is the process for listing KTPs?
  • How effective is threat abatement through the KTP/TAP processes?
  • What needs to change?

Note: A threat is a ‘key threatening process’ if it threatens or may threaten the survival, abundance or evolutionary development of a native species or ecological community.

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