Dr Gillian Sparkes AM, Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, has released the State of the Environment Biodiversity Update 2021 Report.

The next Victorian State of the Environment Report is due in 2023. However, given the severity and impact of the 2019-20 black summer bushfires on Victoria’s ecosystems, this report has been prepared ahead of the State of the Environment 2023 Report.

Dr Sparkes stated “Complementing the Victorian Government’s ongoing scientific analysis, we apply an independent lens and present a statewide view bringing together the available science through an expert review process.”

The report assesses 43 indicators, updating the Commissioner’s State of the Environment 2018 Report. It presents key findings including fire, climate change, invasive plants and animals, threatened species and communities, wetlands and rivers, forests and Victoria’s biodiversity targets.

The immediate government and community biodiversity response and recovery actions following the 2019–20 bushfires were well-resourced, well-coordinated and targeted threatened species. This brought forward some of the intended actions in the implementation of Protecting Victoria’s Environment: Biodiversity 2037, the Victorian Government’s plan to address the long-term decline in Victoria’s biodiversity.

Yet, challenges identified in the State of the Environment 2018 Report remain critical obstacles to improving biodiversity outcomes. The Victorian Auditor General’s audit Protecting Victoria’s Biodiversity was tabled in Parliament after this report was finalised.  However, the findings of the audit, specifically concerns related to the availability of science and data, are consistent with those we present.

“I am pleased to present the State of the Environment Biodiversity Update 2021 Report, and hope that the findings are utilised in ways that benefit Victoria’s environment and communities, now and into the future.”
Dr Gillian Sparkes, AM