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Federal Budget 2022-23: Environment

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The government has announced funding for the Great Barrier Reef, koala conservation and Antarctica, and has directed resources towards recycling, agriculture, and indigenous cultural heritage protection.

Recycling and waste management

The Budget has announced a number of key initiatives in relation to waste management.  In particular, the Government will provide $83.1 million over 5 years from 2022–23 to support the transformation of Australia’s waste and recycling sector and expedite Australia’s transition to a more circular waste economy. This includes:

  • $60.4 million over 4 years from 2022–23 to boost Australia’s plastics recycling capabilities through state-of-the-art technologies and advanced recycling solutions for problematic plastics under the Recycling Modernisation Fund.
  • $18.2 million over 5 years from 2021–22 to develop and promote a ‘ReMade in Australia’ brand and certification scheme that supports Australians to buy quality, locally recycled products.
  • $4.4 million over 2 years from 2022–23 to support the delivery of the Government’s waste export ban by reducing licence assessment timeframes and helping industry to meet regulatory requirements.
Climate & ESG Deep Dive

Conservation and research initiatives

A number of programs have been announced in the Budget with respect to conservation.  Key initiatives in this context are:

  • Koala conservation: The Government will provide $53.0 million over 5 years from 2021–22 and $2.5 million ongoing to support the recovery and conservation of the koala and koala habitats.
  • Tree-planting: The Government will provide $20.3 million over 3 years from 2021–22 for the Planting Trees for The Queen’s Jubilee Program to provide grants across Australia for community led tree planting projects to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
  • Indigenous cultural heritage protection: The Government will provide $139.6 million over 4 years from 2022–23 (and $3.2 million per year ongoing from 2026–27) to progress reforms and maintain timely assessments and approvals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and modernise cultural Indigenous heritage protections under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 (ATSIHP Act). This includes:
    • $62.3 million over 4 years from 2022 23 (and $0.7 million per year ongoing) to establish and administer up to 10 bioregional plans under the EPBC Act at priority regional locations.
    • $27.9 million in 2022–23 to maintain timely environmental assessments and approvals under the EPBC Act.
    • $11.0 million over 2 years from 2022–23 to modernise Indigenous cultural heritage protections and maintain timely decisions under the ATSIHP Act.
    • $10.0 million in 2022–23 to progress negotiations with the states and territories on bilateral agreements for single touch environmental approvals and remove duplication by accrediting states and territories to carry out environmental assessment and grant approvals for Commonwealth matters.
    • $9.5 million over 4 years from 2022–23 (and $2.5 million ongoing) to enhance environmental compliance and enforcement capabilities under the EPBC Act.
  • Leadership in Antarctica: The Government will provide $839.9 million to strengthen our capabilities and presence in Antarctica, including $364.5 million over 5 years from 2021–22 (and $92.3 million per year ongoing) to support Australia’s scientific leadership and international collaboration in Antarctica. This includes:
    • $136.6 million over 5 years from 2021–22 (and $50.6 million per year ongoing) to support Australia’s inland traverse capabilities, critical charting activities, mobile stations, environmental protection and other core activities.
    • $109.2 million over 5 years from 2021–22 (and $30.3 million per year ongoing) to increase Australia’s aerial and inland capabilities.
    • $44.2 million over 5 years from 2021–22 (and $3.9 million per year ongoing) to boost the maritime capability and longevity of RSV Nuyina.
    • $32.0 million in 2021–22 to support critical resupply missions to Australian Antarctic stations for the 2021-22 season.
    • $17.4 million over 5 years from 2021–22 (and $4.8 million per year ongoing) for marine science and state of the art research facilities to strengthen Australia’s leadership in scientific exploration in Antarctica.
    • $14.3 million over 5 years from 2021–22 (and $0.9 million per year ongoing) to support Australian environmental management activities in Antarctica, including removal of legacy waste and the establishment of a geographical information system to support environmental management.
    • $7.4 million over 5 years from 2021–22 (and $1.7 million per year ongoing) to support Antarctic climate resilience and adaptation research.
    • $3.5 million over 5 years from 2021–22 to enhance Australia’s international engagement within the Antarctic Treaty System and promote Australia’s leadership in Antarctic affairs, with costs to be met from within the existing resources of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • Great Barrier Reef: The Government will provide an additional $1.0 billion over 9 years from 2021–22 to strengthen Australia’s stewardship and leadership in the protection of the Great Barrier Reef (the Reef). This includes:
    • $579.9 million over 9 years from 2021–22 to improve the water quality of the Reef, including working with land managers to reduce nutrient and pesticide run off and to remediate eroding gullies and streambanks.
    • $252.9 million over 9 years from 2021–22 for targeted activities that improve the sustainable management and protection of reef ecosystems.
    • $95.6 million over 9 years from 2021–22 to enhance leadership and research and development of resilience and adaptation strategies for the Reef.
    • $74.4 million over 9 years from 2021–22 to strengthen partnerships with Traditional Owners to undertake on ground projects and support data validation of high priority fishing areas.

The Government will also provide $12.4 million in 2022–23 to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to extend fee relief to local tourism businesses in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic.

  • Commonwealth National Parks: The Government will provide an additional $26.8 million over 5 years from 2021–22 (and $2.6 million per year ongoing) to enhance protection of Commonwealth National Parks. This includes $16.2 million in 2022 23 to support the effective management and environmental conservation of Commonwealth National Parks.
  • Murray-Darling Basin: The Government will provide a further $139.9 million over 3 years from 2021–22 to continue investments to achieve a sustainable Murray Darling Basin (the Basin) by improving river health, enhancing environmental water outcomes and stimulating economic activity in Basin communities.

Sustainable practices

Sustainable practices are a key platform of the Government in the Budget papers.  A number of critical environmental initiatives have been announced.  The key programs include:

  • Forestry and fishing: The Government will provide $114.6 million over 5 years from 2021–22 to support the sustainability of the forestry and fishing industries and to respond to emerging challenges. This includes:
    • $86.2 million over 5 years from 2021–22 to work with states and territories to support the establishment of new plantations to secure future wood supply.
    • $24.0 million over 3 years from 2022–23 to improve the long-term sustainability of the South East Trawl Fishery and support fishing communities, including by providing a temporary partial waiver of Australian Fisheries Management Authority levies.
    • $4.4 million over 2 years from 2022–23 to strengthen Australia’s illegal logging traceability and timber identification systems.
  • Future Drought Fund: The Government will provide an additional $84.5 million over 4 years from 2022–23 (and $10.0 million over 2 years from 2026 27) for activities to improve the drought readiness and resilience of Australian farmers and communities.
  • Agriculture: The Government will provide $20.0 million over 4 years from 2021–22 to work with states and territories to reduce the impact of pests and weeds on agricultural production, native wildlife, the environment, and the community.
  • Concessional tax treatment of carbon abatement and biodiversity stewardship income: The Government will allow the proceeds from the sale of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) and biodiversity certificates generated from on farm activities to be treated as primary production income for the purposes of the Farm Management Deposits scheme and tax averaging from 1 July 2022.
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