The NSW Government has delivered a strong budget for climate action and nature, investing significantly in clean energy and koalas and extending the Saving Our Species Program for another five years.
“This is probably the best budget for climate and nature we have seen from the Coalition in NSW, and we commend Minister Matt Kean and others involved for securing much-needed funding for these areas,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said.
Climate and energy
“We have already welcomed the government’s significant commitment to renewable energy, with the injection of $380 million in energy infrastructure, and its new policy to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles with a $500 million package announced on the weekend.
“The government has also wisely allocated $300 million to help ensure the sustainable future of coal mining communities, noting that these communities need support as the global economy moves away from carbon-based energy options.”
“The extra $193 million for koala conservation is also very welcome, even though it is unclear how the government will spend the money.
"While funding may help stem the decline in koala numbers, it is only part of the solution. It must be part of a comprehensive strategy that includes strong legal protections for koala habitat.”
“There’s money to keep the Saving Our Species (SOS) program going – that's also very welcome because there are some great projects funded through that scheme.
"Funding is down $25 million, which is disappointing, but it is a relief that the government has committed to extending the scheme with another $75 million over five years.”
“There is money for acquiring new national parks, which is very good, and over the past six months there have been announcements about acquisitions in the far west of the state.
"It would be good to see some more acquisitions on the coast, particularly the Great Koala National Park.”
Natural Resources Commission
“The 25% funding cut to the Natural Resources Commission's operating budget is baffling given the critical importance of an independent assessment of the government’s natural resource management programs.
“Over the past few years, the NRC has highlighted significant shortcomings in the design and delivery of the government’s land-clearing laws and water-sharing plans.
“Cutting resources to this body by a quarter will considerably constrain its ability to provide quality assessment and analysis to ensure programs are delivering on their stated objectives.”