A large stretch of coast hit by the Black Summer bushfires will be protected under national environment laws, after its eucalypt forests were listed as critically endangered.
Environment Minister Sussan Ley on Monday declared river-flat eucalypt forests on coastal floodplains between Newcastle in NSW and Sale in Victoria would be listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
The forests are home to species like the platypus, koala, swift parrot and greater glider.
However an estimated 50 per cent of the area listed was within the footprint of the 2019-20 bushfires.
The Threatened Species Scientific Committee recommended the listing, as the eucalypt forests had undergone a sharp decline in its geographic distribution due to land clearing.
At least 70 per cent of native vegetation on the coastal floodplains of NSW has been destroyed since European settlement.
Climate change was also listed as a key threat to the forests.
The warming and the drying of the climate in southern and eastern Australia is expected to significantly reduce run-off to coastal rivers and streams, as well as intensifying drought events which could lead to mass die-offs.
Functionally important species within the ecosystem like the little red flying-fox and grey-headed flying-fox, can suffer heat stress and die when temperatures exceed 42 degrees.
Fire, high in intensity or frequency, may also hinder the recovery of species within the ecosystem.
Without action, the cumulative threats could mean the forests were lost within 20 to 100 years.
Humane Society International first nominated the area for listing around a decade ago.
The society's head of programs in Australia Evan Quartermain said it had been a "long road to federal recognition".
"We are thrilled this vital habitat for platypus and koalas - both recently nominated for threatened listings in their own right - will now receive increased protection and conservation prioritisation," Mr Quartermain said.
"Listing threatened habitats provides umbrella benefits to a huge range of endangered species. It could be years before platypus are officially recognised as threatened, but with this decision Minister Ley has made an important contribution to their future and that of many other plants and animals."