The Albanese government has started to turn around a decade of savage cuts to the environment budget, but it has a long way to go before nature protection and restoration is adequately funded, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) said.
“The federal government has set the right goal – zero new extinctions – now it needs to back it with policies, laws and funding,” said ACF Chief Executive Kelly O’Shanassy.
“The budget has increased funding for environmental protection and climate action, but has continued most of the Coalition’s support for fossil fuel industries, including the Fuel Tax Credits scheme, which subsidises the diesel use of multinational mining companies and will cost taxpayers $39.4 billion over the forward estimates.
“Public money for fossil fuel expansion, especially gas, continues to undermine good work on renewable energy and nature protection.
“ACF commends the government for allocating $224m over four years to saving native species and $670m over six years to protecting iconic landscapes, conserving World Heritage listed properties and wetlands and expanding funding for Indigenous Protected Areas.
“This is a vital investment to support the government’s no new extinctions goal.
“We welcome the $7.8m to respond to the Samuel Review, including work towards the establishment of national environment protection agency.
“Despite the increase in funding for the environment, it falls well short of the $1.69bn a year scientists estimate is needed to address rapid biodiversity decline and the extinction crisis.
“We welcome the $6.2m to introduce standardised, internationally-aligned climate disclosure requirements for large businesses.”
Climate action highlights
Global cooperation on climate change
Fossil fuel subsidies
Positive savings of $325.9m by not proceeding with certain environmentally harmful or low value gas, carbon capture and storage pipeline investments.
However, the Fuel Tax Credit scheme continues to cost taxpayers $39.4 billion over the forward estimates, subsidising the fuel bills of big mining companies.
And $1.9bn is allocated for the Middle Arm petrochemical precinct at the port of Darwin.