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.”

Nature highlights

  • $204m for Great Barrier Reef recovery, including ‘blue carbon’ projects to support ecosystem restoration.
  • $670m over six years to protect Australia’s iconic species and landscapes, help conserve World Heritage listed properties and wetlands and expand funding for Indigenous Protected Areas.
  • $90m for Landcare rangers.
  • $91.1 million for clean-up and restoration of urban river and water areas, local species protection.

Climate action highlights

  • $20bn for rewiring the nation (primarily concessional loans) 
  • $630.4m for disaster resilience projects and initiatives by state, territory and local governments
  • $302.1m to support sustainable farming and land management and enhance disaster resilience
  • $102.2m for 85 solar banks
  • $224.4m for community batteries
  • A $1.9bn ‘powering the regions’ fund
  • A $15bn for a national reconstruction fund
  • $95.6m for 10,000 new energy apprenticeships
  • $9.6m for a new energy skills program
  • $275.7m to build capacity in the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water 
  • $42.6m to restore capability at the Climate Change Authority
  • A $500m Driving the Nation Fund to help reduce transport emissions 
  • $345.0m to exempt eligible electric cars from fringe benefits taxes and tariffs 
  • $7.1m to transition government agencies to net zero emissions by 2030
  • $20.3m for climate farming outreach with Australian farmers and First Nations peoples
  • $15.3m Coastal Marine Ecosystem Research Centre at Central Queensland University
  • $2.2m in 2022–23 towards developing and consulting on design and draft legislation for a Guarantee of Origin Certificate scheme
  • $62.6m for small to medium firms for energy efficiency upgrades.

Global cooperation on climate change

  • $45.8m to support more proactive engagement with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • $50m for a Pacific Climate Infrastructure Financing Partnership stream.

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.

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Josh Meadows on 0439 342 992. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email [email protected]