Wednesday, 10 May 2023
Matters of Public Importance
Millions of Australians who voted for change at the last federal election will be disappointed to learn that one of the biggest losers from this federal budget was the environment and our oceans. We know we're in an extinction crisis and this government, with great fanfare, has signed up for big global pushes, like this Aichi zero extinction target. They've signed up to the UN's pledge to protect 30 per cent of our land and sea by 2030, but where's the funding for our threatened species framework in this budget? We know that to properly protect our environment, to stop the loss of threatened species and to restore our environment, we need at least $2 billion a year in funding, based on the US model. What do we get in this budget? Depending on how you dice it, maybe $50 million a year—a few per cent of what is required.
I'd like to read the words of Professor Euan Ritchie, one of the many scientists who have been ringing the bell on the need for real government funding to protect our environment. He was surprised when he said that words that can't be found in the Treasurer's 2023 budget speech include 'climate change', 'wildlife', 'threatened species', 'ecosystems', 'extinction', 'biodiversity' and 'nature'. The only mention of 'environment' was actually in relation to the environment of inflation. So much for actions to back up the words from this government in a time of real crisis! Budgets are the most important time for governments, especially new governments, to show the nation what their priorities are, and it's clear as daylight that the environment is not a priority for this government. But it is a priority for the Australian Greens, and we will continue to fight for our environment. We know the government is going to be bringing forward legislation in the next six to nine months, and this is an issue we will continually raise so that in the next budget, in May 2024, we see the environment properly funded.