14 May 2024


Tonight’s federal budget has fallen short in delivering the funding needed to protect threatened species and regenerate nature, said WWF-Australia.

WWF-Australia’s Head of Policy, Quinton Clements said the budget had provided positive commitments for renewable energy, but not enough new money to meet the challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change.

“Tonight’s budget has left nature shortchanged,” said Mr Clements.

“This government has made welcome pledges to prevent new extinctions and protect 30% of Australia’s land and sea areas, but has again failed to deliver the funding needed to meet these commitments.

In its budget submission, WWF-Australia estimated $5.8 billion per year would be required to reverse the decline of the 110 priority species identified in the government’s own threatened species action plan.

Yet the budget delivered no new funding for threatened species recovery or protected areas.

“Our long list of threatened species is a direct result of decades of inadequate spending on species recovery and conservation,” said Mr Clements.

“We can turn this around, but it will take a dramatic increase in action and investment.

“Australia should be a world leader in tackling species extinctions and habitat loss, working with First Nations communities to regenerate landscapes and recover biodiversity.”

There was much better news for Australia’s energy transition, with the budget delivering solid investments in renewables and renewable manufacturing through the Future Made in Australia package.

“We’re pleased to see the government following through on its pledge to make Australia a renewable energy superpower with significant investments in growing our green export capacity. This is critical to replace our fossil fuel exports,” said Mr Clements.

“We also welcome the commitment of $134.2 million to strengthen environmental approvals including prioritising renewable energy projects of national significance, and $20.7 million to improve engagement with communities on the energy transition.

“The rapid scale-up of renewable energy infrastructure must be done in ways that protect biodiversity and respect the rights of First Nations communities.

“We also need to see more targeted investment in other decarbonisation opportunities, such as electrification of our buildings and transport and building the renewable grid, to help stabilise global heating to 1.5 degrees.”

Mr Clements said the budget also offered little to protect Australia’s oceans and marine wildlife.

“The Great Barrier Reef has become one of the most frequently bleached reef systems in the world, with five mass bleaching events in eight years,” he said.

“The plight of coral reefs shows Australia's oceans are under unprecedented pressure. There's a desperate need for funding to build the resilience of our oceans in the face of these underwater heatwaves through increasing marine park protection, helping threatened marine species to recover, and ensuring safe passage for whales and other species.

“At this critical time when we need significant new funding for marine protection and restoration, it's concerning to see an absence of new commitments in tonight’s budget.”

Mr Clements said making the environment a budget priority would benefit Australia’s wildlife, people and economy.

“It’s time that we recognise the value of nature and invest the resources required to place nature and our climate firmly on the path to recovery,” he said.