Last year was a “bumper” one for Australia’s environment on the back of significant rainfall, but climate change, habitat destruction and invasive species remain ongoing threats, according to the latest edition of Australia’s Environment Report. 

Led by Professor Albert Van Dijk from The Australian National University (ANU), the annual report analyses vast amounts of satellite and field data to calculate 15 environmental indicators.  

They are summarised into score cards for all Australian regions. 

For 2022, the national score was 8.7 out of 10 – the highest since 2011 – due to improvements in water availability, vegetation growth and soil conditions. 

“Overall, it appears the nation’s environmental conditions made a comeback in 2022,” Professor Van Dijk said. 

Professor Albert Van Dijk at Black Mountain Nature Reserve. Photo: Jamie Kidston/ANU

While flooding claimed lives and destroyed homes in parts of the country in 2022, much of the flora and fauna that depend on the rains flourished. 

In particular, New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory achieved their highest state-level scores this century. 

“It was a great year for our wetlands, the best in decades. It was also a bumper year for many farmers, with growth in dryland cropping a huge 49 per cent better than the 20-year average,” Professor Van Dijk said. 

“Australia’s environment is in much better shape than it would have been without the last three wetter years.” 

Despite this, the underlying trend of climate change continues to impact our farming, health and safety, as well as our natural ecosystems and biodiversity, the researchers warn. 

“La Niña normally brings cooler conditions, but while the average temperature was the coolest since 2012, it was still quite warm, at 0.5 degrees Celsius above the long-term average,” Professor Van Dijk said. 

“The ocean around Australia was warmer than ever. So while the environment is in a relatively good place, the impacts of climate change are apparent and will become progressively worse.”  

It was also another worrying year for our wildlife, with 30 species added to the official Threatened Species List in 2022.  

According to Professor Van Dijk, their long-term decline is driven by invasive species, habitat destruction and, increasingly, the impacts of climate change. 

“A lot of these species were heavily impacted by the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires. But amid the gloom, some species proved resilient to fire,” he said. 

Australia’s Environment Report is produced annually by ANU and the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN).  

The full report and score cards for individual regions are available online at

You may also like

Article Card Image

Australia’s most at-risk bird species share some common traits

Australian birds that live on islands are among the species most at risk of extinction, a first-of-its-kind ANU study has shown.

Article Card Image

Alternative fuels are no direct ticket to sustainable air travel

Sustainable aviation fuel sounds great for green travel, but the reality of their broader environmental impact is much more complicated.

Article Card Image

Australian climate action is heading the right way, just not fast enough

Low-cost renewables provide an easy win to help tackle a warming world, ANU expert says.

Subscribe to ANU Reporter

Anu Logo

+61 2 6125 5111

The Australian National University, Canberra

CRICOS Provider: 00120C

ABN: 52 234 063 906

EDX Logo
Group of eight Australia Logo