Only 53 cents from every $100 dollars of federal government spending goes towards programs, grants, policy work, research and staff to address the environmental and climate crisis, new analysis by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) reveals.

ACF’s analysis shows from every $100 of government spending, 37 cents is put towards protecting the environment and just 16 cents is spent on climate action.

Environment spending as a proportion of the overall budget spend has declined from half of one per cent (0.5%) of the total federal budget in 2013-14 to 0.37% in 2020-21.

Climate portfolio spending has declined from a quarter of one per cent (0.25%) of the federal budget in 2013-14 to 0.16% in the last budget.

If environment and climate spending had increased in line with the overall budget growth of more than 60% since 2013-14, funds for environment and climate would be above $5 billion.

“Australia, and the planet, are in the midst of an environmental crisis that is unprecedented in human history,” said Matt Rose, ACF’s Economy and Democracy Program Manager.

“Australia is a global leader in extinction and per capita climate pollution.

“Our budgetary priorities suggest our elected representatives do not really care about Australia’s unique wildlife or about handing on a safe climate to coming generations.

“While some countries have taken the COVID crisis as a prompt to reshape their economies and invest heavily in a clean recovery, our government has squandered this opportunity, opting instead to invest in gas – a highly polluting fossil fuel.

“Since 2013-14 the government has shifted its climate spending out of the department to climate agencies, like ARENA and the CEFC. Funding for departmental climate functions has fallen by almost 50% since 2013-14, while funding to climate agencies increased by 50%.

Our analysis shows funding to preserve Australia’s biodiversity continues to be savagely cut, with projections in forward estimates projecting a 56% decline in administered conservation spending – a cut of more than $200 million on the 2013-14 financial year.

“Policy reform and investment are critical to improve the health of Australia’s environment and build resilience to existing, emerging and future threats.”

Download ACF's spreadsheets here

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