2019 State Budget: What it means for the environment
18 June 2019
While the horrible slash and burn and massive job losses from previous years appear to have come to an end, the environment protection and sustainability areas remain one of the least funded parts of the state budget.
The state’s environment agencies remain grossly underfunded as demands significantly increase.
New investment over the next few years in protecting our coasts, parks and waste recycling is strongly welcomed and hopefully points to a promising change in trend.
However, despite the new investment, this year’s budget — like previous years — does not match anywhere near the transformation required to deal with a rapidly changing climate.
The need to spend $50million on protecting our beaches is a clear sign that climate change will hit the budget bottom line hard.
Meanwhile, spending priorities like the North-South road corridor, rather than greater investment in public transport, just make the job of responding to climate change harder.
The better news is a slowing of the steady downward trend in environment funding, with some new funding for our parks and a significant investment in coast protection over the next four years.
Over the past decade, the total state budget has nearly doubled yet the amount invested by State Treasury in environment protection has halved.
We have no choice but to reverse this over the next few years to ensure clean water, survival of native plants and animals, and growing enough food.
The funding for this year’s new initiatives in coast protection and recycling appear to come from the Solid Waste Levy, rather than treasury coffers.
We welcome the work of Environment Minister David Speirs in delivering the following new investment:
- $28 million for a sand recycling pipeline to restore Adelaide beaches
- $11.8 million for South Australia’s parks and improve nature-based tourism experiences
- $12 million recycling transition package
MEDIA COMMENT: Craig Wilkins, Conservation SA Chief Executive - 0417 879 439