Written by Jane Ma
The Government has announced a package of measures to build a more resilient and secure Australia, aimed at supporting our oceans, biodiversity, recycling, waste and climate resilience.
The Government has also committed to drive competitiveness, growth and resilience in agriculture.
The key environmental initiatives announced in the Budget include:
- Building Australia's resistance – the Government will provide $1.2 billion over five years to improve Australia's capability to better prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural disasters.
- Murray-Darling Basin - managing water resources – the Government will provide $1.5 billion over four years for a package of measures to continue efforts to achieve a sustainable and certain future for the Murray-Darling Basin, its people, industries and the environment.
- Agricultural initiatives - the Government is backing Australian farmers to help secure Australia's recovery, committing around $850.0 million to a package of reform to support Australia's soils and biodiversity stewardship, and maximise the benefits of Australia's fisheries and forestry resources.
- Oceans Leadership Package – the Government will provide an additional $100.1 million over five years for a new Oceans Leadership Package, aimed at restoring 'blue carbon' ecosystems, improving the health of coastal environments domestically and regionally, and protecting native species and habitat, supporting Australian Marine Parks and protecting marine species.
- Australian Climate Service – the Government will invest $209.7 million over four years to help Australia better anticipate, manage and adapt to the impacts of natural disasters and changing climates. A new national information centre, the Australian Climate Service (ACS), will be established to inform Emergency Management Australia and the National Resilience and Recovery Agency in responding to, and preparing for, natural disasters.
- Recycling and waste – a total of $77.9 million in new investments will be made to reduce waste impacts on our environment, create jobs and grow the economy:
- $67.0 million will be invested in new food organic and garden organic waste (FOGO) initiatives, establishing a Food Waste for Healthy Soils Fund to divert 3.4 million tonnes of organic material from landfill for productive use in agricultural soils;
- $5.0 million will go to supporting small and medium sized business to adopt the Australasian Recycling Label; and
- $5.9 million for additional investments in industry-led national product stewardship schemes to reduce waste and increase resource recovery.
- Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation –
- $9.0 million will fund the establishment and operation of an independent Environment Assurance Commissioner;
- $2.7 million will support the development of a 'pilot' regional plan for a priority development region in partnership with a willing state or territory;
- $0.5 million will support the Minister's commitment to stakeholder engagement for modernising and strengthening the protection of Indigenous cultural heritage; and
- $17.1 million will be allocated for additional resourcing to continue improved assessment and approval times under the existing Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
- Threatened species and biodiversity – $29.1 million of additional funding will be invested to protecting native species from the threats posed by invasive pest animals and weeds in our native environment. This additional funding will complement existing investments in bushfire recovery for native species and habitat, safe havens, and a new ten year Threatened Species Strategy.