Celebrating World Migratory Bird Day

Media release

12 October 2019

World Migratory Bird Day highlights both the fragile wonder of bird migration and the critical importance of local environmental action to protect habitats and reduce the threat of plastics.

The Morrison Government, in partnership with Birdlife Australia, can today announce it will bring together 18 national governments, intergovernmental organisations and the international business sector to address the most pressing threats to migratory waterbirds and their habitats at the 11th Meeting of Partners of the East Asian – Australasian Flyway Partnership in Brisbane in March 2021.

Australia works actively with its neighbours to protect migratory birds that move through our region. For more than 40 years, Australia has played an important role in international cooperation to conserve migratory birds in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.

It is vital that we work together to identify and agree to solutions that will assist the long‑term recovery of these migratory birds, including those listed as threatened in Australia. Any investment in these species in Australia is compromised if nothing is done to address threats occurring in the rest of the Flyway.

This year’s theme for World Migratory Bird Day—"Protect Birds: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution!"—aims to draw attention to the devastating impact of plastic pollution on migratory birds and their habitats.

Sadly, having wings does not help birds escape the threat of plastic waste. Dead chicks with stomachs full of plastic, entangled and smothered by plastic rings and nets are all real consequences of the toll that plastic takes on migratory birds and other wildlife.

Plastic pollution is a growing issue in Australia and globally. It is estimated that there are more than 150 million tonnes of plastic waste in the oceans and that this amount is forecast to grow to 250 million tonnes in 2025. In just 30 years’ time there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans. We don’t want to see Australia’s waste going into waterways and into the ocean where it can cause harm.

That’s why the Australian Government, along with all states and territories and local governments, agreed to ban the export of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres. We want that ban to start next year.

It is time for Australia to take care of our own waste.

Minister for the Environment