The federal budget is finally here. There’s a lot going on, both positive and concerning, so we’re here to break it down for you.

Is there funding for clean energy?

$22.7bn over a decade has been allocated to the Future Made in Australia plan to support continuing efforts in building the country ’s renewable manufacturing and export industry. You can read the full breakdown of this $22.7bn here.

Funding has also been allocated toward international climate policy. This includes $2m over five years to support Australia’s continued engagement in international climate change and energy transition issues and $150m over four years in international climate finance.

“If well executed, it [the Future Made in Australia plan] will help build a manufacturing and export industry powered by clean renewable energy. This is crucial to solving the climate crisis,” said ACF chief executive Kelly O’Shanassy.

Aerial view of wind farm

Aerial view of windfarm on the Australian coastline

Where does nature fit into the budget?

$40.9m has been allocated over two years to continue implementing the Nature Positive Plan, and $50m in 2024-25 for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to engage tourism operators to conduct reef monitoring, protection and other stewardship activities.

Aside from this funding, budget allocations toward nature are sparse and completely inadequate.

“The establishment of the Environment Protection Australia and Environment Information Australia is welcome, as is the crackdown on illegal land clearing,” said Ms O’Shanassy.

“But there is much more the budget has not addressed on nature law reform and threatened species recovery. Experts say $2bn a year – less than a quarter of what is splashed annually in fuel tax credits – is needed to help Australian threatened species recover.

“There is a long way to go before funding for the environment is at a scale needed to protect and restore nature and secure the services nature provides and on which we all depend.”

Southern black-throated finch

Endangered Southern Black Throated Finch

Public money still flowing for fossil fuels

We are in the midst of a climate crisis, yet public money is still being funnelled to fossil fuel companies.

“Serious public money is still flowing to coal and gas, especially via the Fuel Tax Credit scheme and through funding for carbon capture and storage – technology designed to extend the use-by date of climate-damaging fossil fuels,” ACF CEO Kelly O’Shanassy said.

"It makes sense to fund the industries that help us solve climate change, not the industries that got us into this mess."

"Propping up fossil fuel industries with public money is bad for the climate and isn’t doing anything to relieve cost of living pressures for Australians either.”

There are two-sides to the budget coin, and while the budget includes positive steps toward funding a renewable future, there is a long way to go.

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Australian Conservation Foundation