Malcolm Turnbull’s budget puts big polluters ahead of the community and the air, water, forest and land that sustain us.

  • 14% cut in environment budget since the Coalition formed government in 2013, projected to be a 27 per cent cut by 2020
  • $1.2 billion for environment budget 
  • $7.6 billion for polluting subsidies, more than 6 times the environment budget

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) says Malcolm Turnbull’s budget puts big polluters ahead of the community and the air, water, forest and land that sustain us.

“The Turnbull government continues to allow big polluters to pollute and this budget will ensure that everyday Australians pay the price,” said the Australian Conservation Foundation CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.

“Public spending to address climate pollution and safeguard the air we breathe, the water we drink and the places and wildlife we love will continue to endure brutal cuts. Meanwhile, billions in public funds are being handed to big polluters like coal companies.

“Malcolm Turnbull wants to give Adani a cheap billion dollar loan from his coal slush fund. This one loan is almost the same amount of money that our Prime Minister is willing to provide our nation’s rivers, reefs and forests this year. He’s lost his moral compass.  

“The government’s prioritisation of gas in this budget further demonstrates their failure to recognise the need for a long-term transition plan for Australia’s energy system. Budget measures which foreshadow investment in gas infrastructure and new gas exploration mean Australia will remain shackled to fossil fuels instead of accelerating the transition to renewables.”

“The Turnbull government seems determined to continued Tony Abbott’s environmental negligence.

“This is not a budget that gives our communities any confidence that our elected representatives are taking their responsibility to Australia’s reefs, rivers, people, forests and wildlife seriously.

“By choosing to prop up big polluting companies with loans and subsidies, our government is choosing not to invest in clean energy, education and creating a better future for our children and grandchildren.

“The government’s own State of the Environment report called for more spending on our reefs, rivers, forests and lands, not less.

“The Great Barrier Reef is dying right before our eyes because of pollution subsidised by the Australian Government. The Coalition’s budget choices are unworthy of a 21st century government.

Fossil Fuel Subsidies

  • No reform of the Fuel Tax Credit subsidy, which will cost Australians $6.3 billion next year and $27.1 billion to 2020.
  • No change to aviation fuel excise concessions which subsidise the fuel of the aviation sector; will cost Australians $1.3 billion next year, $5.8 billion over the next four years.

“Motorists will continue to pay over 40 cents in tax per litre every time they fill up, while some of the world’s biggest companies such as BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Glencore Xstrata, pay no tax at all on the fuel they use.

“Our government is essentially mining the public purse to pay big polluting companies to wreck our climate and harm our communities for short-term gain.

“The unwillingness to tackle these subsidies stifles innovation and shackles Australia to old fashioned outdated fuel sources, while taking public money away from health, education, clean energy and protecting our environment.”

Energy and Climate Change

  • Government has announced an energy package which focuses on gas and the Snowy Hydro Scheme.  
  • Government affirms its election commitment to provide a $110m loan for a solar thermal plant in Port Augusta
  • No further funding for the Emission Reduction Fund.
  • Despite the Finkel Review, the Government’s Climate Policy Review, the Vehicle Emissions Review and the completed National Energy Productivity Plan, there is no funding to address Australia’s growing climate pollution.
  • Instead, the Environment and Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg, is planning for failure, saying it is uncertain Australia can achieve net zero climate pollution by 2050.

“This budget is a missed opportunity to commit meaningful funding towards transforming Australia to a future powered by clean energy – one that will see our country get off coal, get into renewables, help workers with the transition and make our energy systems much more efficient.

“The expansion of Snowy Hydro will provide energy storage but it needs to be powered by renewables to be considered clean”  

Climate science

  • No further research funding for the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility. It has been given $600,000 next year to work with CSIRO to maintain an online database of specific parts of its research. It has no funding after that.

“The National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility has no further research money, it is a research facility without funding for research. The Budget shows that the Turnbull government is not serious when it comes to climate science,


  • Government has committed to funding Landcare till 2022-23, total funding of $1 billion over the 7 years. However there is no new funding over the forward estimates above what has already been foreshadowed.

“ACF welcomes the government commitment to the future of Landcare and looks forward to further government prioritisation of Landcare through the Federal Budget”

Indigenous Rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas

  • Nothing new in the budget on Indigenous Ranger programs
  • 15m for new Indigenous Protected Areas from existing Environment funding 

“ACF welcomes the funding for new Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) in the budget, we will continue to support the long-term funding of IPAs and the expansion and long term funding of Indigenous ranger program. These provide positive community and environmental outcomes that the government should fund permanently like other ranger and protected area programs."


ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Josh Meadows on 0439 342 992. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email [email protected]