The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has condemned the 2018-19 Federal Budget for pushing through more damaging environment cuts and continuing reckless fossil fuel subsidies.
ACF Chief Executive Officer, Kelly O’Shanassy, said a good government would have cut handouts to coal, gas and oil corporations, increased Australia’s clean energy and invested in restoring our precious rivers, forests and wildlife.
Instead, since 2013-14 environment investment has been cut by 37 per cent, while the overall federal budget has grown 18 per cent, taking the proportion of the overall budget invested in the environment to just 2 cents on the dollar.
“This is a reckless budget that actively encourages climate pollution, invests little in clean energy and slashes investment in Australia’s wildlife, forests and rivers,” Ms O’Shanassy said.
“This is a values choice by the Turnbull Government to slash investment in the clean water, healthy country and safe climate that sustains all Australians.
“It is a deliberate decision not to invest in halting Australia’s shameful species extinction record and puts in jeopardy our precious threatened creatures like the Leadbeater’s Possum, Palm Cockatoo and Southern Corroboree Frog.
“And while its slashing investment for our natural world, the Turnbull Government has maintained the subsidy for big miners and large agriculture corporations to keep burning diesel and produce climate pollution.
“Coal mining companies alone will receive over $1 billion a year in diesel fuel subsidies over the forward estimates.
“We welcome the investment in the resilience of our Great Barrier Reef, noting that it is not all new money. But this budget does little to stop the biggest threat to the reef’s survival – climate pollution.”
Fossil Fuel Subsidies
“This budget ensures that some of the world’s biggest mining companies, like BHP, Rio Tinto and Glencore, will pay no tax at all on the off-road fuel they use,” Ms O’Shanassy said.
“The World Bank, the OECD and other major international financial institutions are urging countries like Australia to abandon coal, gas and oil subsidies that encourage more climate pollution. So why is the Turnbull Government paying big polluting companies to wreck our climate and harm our communities for short-term gain?”
Climate Change and Clean Energy
“While the Turnbull Government has largely focus on its underwhelming National Energy Guarantee proposal, it is still to deliver a comprehensive plan to make Australia’s economy pollution free,” Ms O’Shanassy said.
“This budget gives Australians no indication of how the Turnbull Government will cut rising pollution from areas such as transport, heavy industry and agriculture.
“And there is no more money for the Emissions Reduction Fund, meaning the cupboard is bare for incentives to encourage industry and landowners to cut their pollution.”
“We welcome the increased investment in the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef through improving water quality, tackling crown of thorns and critical research,” Ms O’Shanassy said.
“But the Great Barrier Reef needs sustained and increased funding to stop pollution run-off and to meet the water quality targets that have been promised to the international community. We look forward to future investments in building the resilience of our reef.
“Australia is a beautiful country with unique wildlife and amazing places. But for all its natural beauty, the sad reality is that Australia is losing places we love like our native woodlands, and animals we love like the koala. Our government must protect our parks, rivers and forests for our wildlife and all Australians.”