This modest announcement will provide short-term help to underfunded community groups but is nothing like the investment our natural world needs to halt Australia’s shocking extinction crisis.
The Morrison Government’s new grant program for local environmental restoration is a modest commitment that will help some underfunded community groups but does little to reverse the deep cuts made by the Coalition since 2013-14, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) says.
“This modest announcement will provide short-term help to underfunded community groups but is nothing like the investment our natural world needs to halt Australia’s shocking extinction crisis,” said Basha Stasak, ACF’s Nature Campaign Manager.
“There is no clear rationale for why this funding is allocated by electorate, instead of where environmental threats are greatest.
“Since the Coalition took office in Canberra in 2013 spending on on-ground conservation programs has been slashed by 43.6 per cent per cent. When compared to 2013 levels, conservation spending is forecast to fall by more than 60 per cent over the forward estimates.
“This represents a reckless devaluing of our natural world at a time when we need to strengthen it in the face of climate change, widespread habitat loss and other pressures.
“Australia has one of the world’s worst extinction records – just weeks ago another mammal, the Bramble Cay melomys, was formally declared as gone forever.”
ACF’s federal budget submission has identified that a $1 billion annual national environment fund is needed to stop extinction, expand our national reserve system, help landowners restore landscapes, and create larger urban canopies.
This should be coupled with stronger new national environment laws, an independent national Environment Protection Authority to enforce them, and a National Sustainability Commission to set binding standards.
“Ultimately we need a significant reinvestment in nature, not more pork barrelling,” she said.