Myrtle Rust is a plant disease caused by the introduced fungal pathogen Austropuccinia psidii and it poses a serious and urgent threat to Australia’s native biodiversity. Myrtle Rust affects plant species in the family Myrtaceae (paperbarks, tea-trees, eucalypts, and lillipillies), which are key and often dominant species in most Australian ecosystems. To date it has proved capable of infecting 382 native species and this number is growing. 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 sites, and national heritage places.
The Foundation has been leading efforts along with key stakeholders to protect Australia against Myrtle Rust. We recently held a National Symposium, we have funded a suite of important projects, have delivered the National Action Plan, and are now developing a suite of knowledge resources for everyone to access.