“Failed to deliver for nature”: NSW Budget neglects biodiversity, environmental advocates say

“Failed to deliver for nature”: NSW Budget neglects biodiversity, environmental advocates say
Image: Wikimedia Commons

by HOPE PRATT

 

Following the release of the NSW Budget, environmental advocates have said that the Minns Government has once again “failed to deliver for nature”. 

The Nature Conservation Council of NSW (NCC) said that amidst an extinction crisis, the funding for ecosystem restoration and threatened species is going backwards.  

“We need to recognise that we have a dual crisis and that spending on renewable infrastructure will not in itself stop extinction and the tragic loss of biodiversity occurring all around us,” said Jacqui Mumford, the council’s CEO. 

A May report found that only 50 per cent of endangered species in the state are expected to survive the next 100 years. 

Subsequently, only 29 per cent of native species can be supported by NSW’s current habitat condition. 

“Labor came into power promising to turn the tide, and yet this is the second year in a row nature funding, as a percentage, has declined,” Mumford said. 

Without a seismic shift in nature investment NSW will see more extinctions and fail to meet our ‘30 by 30’ Global Biodiversity Framework targets.” 

This year’s budget will see the Labor government spend just 1.61 per cent on the environment, less than the 1.67 per cent in the 2023-24 Budget, and 1.73 per cent in the 2022-23 budget.

Lasting effects of the 2019-20 bushfires 

The report also highlighted the continuing devastation that the 2019-20 bushfires caused to the state’s natural habitats. It was noted that unless action is taken, future climate change related events will continue to contribute to the decline of NSW’s biodiversity. 

At the time, the NCC labelled these findings as “a shocking and deeply frustrating failure to meet our obligation to protect nature.”

Spokesperson Clancy Barnard said at the time, “This report confirms what we have been warning the government about since they came to office – we are in a biodiversity crisis and urgent action is needed.”

“Habitat clearing has tripled since nature laws were changed in 2016 to allow virtually unregulated destruction, and now this report confirms what we suspected – it’s only going to get worse for NSW ecosystems and wildlife as long as the status quo persists.”   

NCC have continued to voice their frustration and concern as Labor has committed only 1.61% of its state budget to Environmental Protection, despite devastating projections.  

In their most recent statement, NCC has called for “significant public investment” to protect and restore declining ecosystems and growth of protected areas. 

The nature deficit needs to be addressed by proper investment in NSW’s biodiversity,” said Mumford. 

“Whilst Premier Chris Minns loves spruiking the beauty of NSW nature and posting selfies in pretty places, it’s clear biodiversity isn’t a priority for this government.”

“There is a substantial investment in renewables, but NSW needs to do a lot more to turn the biodiversity crisis around.” 

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