Most of the package is repurposed money and it will do little to reverse the half a billion dollars the Coalition has cut from environment programs since 2013.
The Coalition’s recycling and species announcement today does little to turn around the deep cuts it has made to the national environment budget since 2013, analysis from the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) shows.
ACF’s Economy and Democracy Program Manager, Matt Rose, said the Coalition’s new package included only $67 million of new money, with the rest of the claimed $203 million announcement drawn from the existing funds of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and foreign aid budget.
Mr Rose said the additional funding – mostly for recycling and litter initiatives – were a drop in the ocean compared to the massive cuts that have been made to environment programs. ACF analysis shows that even factoring in the additional money announced today, the federal environment budget has been slashed by 38 per cent since the Coalition took office in 2013. That equates to a $533 million cut to the annual environment budget by 2022.
“While this announcement has some modest new contributions for the recovery of a handful of species, it goes nowhere near addressing Australia’s extinction crisis,” Mr Rose said.
“In the last decade alone three native Australian species have been wiped out and scientists predict 17 animals could go extinct in the next 20 years.
“Since Australia’s national environment laws took effect 17 years ago an area of threatened species habitat larger than the size of Tasmania has been destroyed.
“Most of the package announced today is repurposed money and it will do little to reverse the half a billion dollars the Coalition has cut from environment programs since 2013.
“Australia’s precious natural world deserves real investment. All parties should commit to invest at least $1 billion annually in nature through a national environment fund to support the growth of protected areas, threatened species recovery programs, habitat restoration and urban tree cover expansion.
“Australia urgently needs better new laws to protect our natural world and an independent national Environmental Protection Authority to oversee them.”