The Conservation Council SA is once again disappointed to see the complete disregard for the environment in the 2011/12 State Budget.In the Treasurer's budget speech there was not a single mention of climate change, not a word about the environment, no reference to sustainability. As Australia's climate policy chases its own tail and our emissions continue to grow, the legacy of this inaction will manifest in our ecosystems and our natural resources.
These systems are not invincible, they operate within fixed biological parameters. As the climate changes, we will see threats to many of the natural systems and services that underpin our state's economy. Yet the budget that articulates our priorities for action conveys absolutely no sense of this. We've got great targets like Lose No Species, but how can we possibly expect to achieve these goals while environmental spending continues to decline?
Spending on the environment has been on a downward trajectory for the last four years, now accounting for only around 2.5% of our state's total expenditure. Similarly, staffing in the environment and water portfolios continues to drop, with over 350 FTEs lost in the last three years.
This is a woeful undervaluing of our natural heritage, which provides the ecosystem products and services our primary industries and lifestyles depend on.