26 Oct 2022
BUDGET TAKES POSITIVE STEPS TOWARDS REGENERATING AUSTRALIA
The Australian Government has taken positive steps towards addressing climate change and halting biodiversity loss with last night’s federal budget, said the World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia.
WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman welcomed the $1.8 billion in environment funding, particularly the investment in protecting threatened species and expanding protected areas.
However, he warned greater investment would be needed to reverse Australia’s extinction crisis.
“We applaud the government for setting a target of zero new extinctions and allocating $224.5 million to help threatened species,” said Mr O’Gorman.
“This is a positive step, but it’s nowhere near the $1.69 billion per year that researchers estimate is needed to recover Australia’s threatened species."
“Australia’s growing threatened species list is a direct result of decades of inadequate funding for the environment. We can turn this around, but it’s going to take action and investment of the kind we’ve never seen before.”
Mr O’Gorman welcomed the $1.2 billion to 2030 commitment to protect the Great Barrier Reef and $66.5 million to support 10 new Indigenous Protected Areas.
“This investment in Indigenous Protected Areas will assist Australia to follow through on its pledge to protect at least 30% of land and sea by 2030 and deliver a win-win for Indigenous communities and nature,” he said.
Mr O’Gorman also applauded the government for demonstrating climate leadership and investing in Australia’s clean energy transition to help communities access affordable energy.
The budget included $20 billion to upgrade Australia’s electricity grid and unlock new renewables, and $1.9 billion to help communities in regional areas harness the economic opportunities of decarbonisation.
“Today’s budget will help move Australian states towards securing our position as a world leading renewable energy export superpower and help unlock private sector financing for this opportunity,” said Mr O’Gorman.
“We welcome the focus on addressing the impacts of energy transition on regional communities and the commitment to working collaboratively with First Nations communities.”
Mr O’Gorman also welcomed the commitment to start rebuilding Australia’s aid budget, including $137.2 million in climate change and environment funding.
“An important part of regenerating Australia is regenerating Australia’s role in our region. We welcome the government’s new investments supporting our neighbours in the Pacific and Southeast Asia to build their resilience to climate change and accelerate their transition to net-zero,” he said.
“We heard a lot in this budget about an uncertain world, but also that Australia has put ‘environment back on the agenda’. If Australia is to secure a Nature Positive future, our government will need to show strong and ambitious leadership at the upcoming global biodiversity conference (COP15) because when we regenerate Australia, both people and nature benefit.”