19 June 2019

NSW Budget neglects climate and extinction emergencies

The urgent need to protect species, slash climate pollution and ramp up clean energy in NSW have been largely overlooked in today’s state budget, according to the NSW Nature Conservation Council.

“After her re-election the Premier said she wanted to make the environment a new focus for her government but judging from this budget it is just more of the same,” CEO Kate Smolski said.

“The Treasurer didn’t mention a single significant new clean-energy project in his speech, nor did he announce any significant new funding for nature conservation.

“Spending on renewables is only $142 million, which is just 0.15 per cent of the state’s $93 billion expenditure on infrastructure. That’s pathetic.

“The government boasts it is spending $300 million from the Climate Change Fund but does not say on what.

“In the past the government has misdirected these funds to projects like raising the Warragamba Dam wall that don’t reduce climate pollution and actually harm the environment.

“While NSW is gripped by drought this government’s response to the climate crisis is to talk about building dams.

“There is not enough water to fill the dams we have because climate change has made rainfall less reliable and droughts will continue to get worse unless we act urgently to cut our pollution.

“Building dams won’t make it rain. The best hope we have to address the crisis is to revegetate the landscape, stop burning coal and gas and slash our climate pollution.”

Ms Smolski welcomed modest funding for a new national park in south-west Sydney, $150 million for urban parks, and money for national parks infrastructure, all of which had been announced before the election.

“While new funding and a new park is always welcome, this government still has the worst record on national parks creation since the NSW network began to be built in the 1960s,” Ms Smolski said.

“We have barely half-built the reserve system we need to ensure the long-term survival of the unique native wildlife species and landscapes that make NSW such amazing place.

“Premier Gladys Berejiklian has added less to the parks estate than any Premier ever.”

[1] $30m for the Emerging Energy Program; $64.5m for the Empowering Homes Program; $18m over three years to accelerate the roll-out of solar panels on government buildings; and $30m for the Regional Community Energy Fund.


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