“A massive lost opportunity”: virtually no funding for climate in Federal Budget

29.03.22 By
This content is more than 2 years old

THE 2022 Federal Budget has failed to deliver any meaningful commitments to address escalating climate change in Australia.

Nicki Hutley, Climate Councillor, leading economist and former Partner at Deloitte Access Economics, who was in today’s Budget lockup, has calculated that just 0.3% of total expenditure for 2021-2024 has been committed to climate change initiatives, falling even lower, to just 0.2% in 2024-2026. 

She said much of the 0.3% is funding already committed prior to this Budget and that the 22/23 Budget adds ‘virtually nothing’ to that. 

“Rather than investing in a green economic future, the Federal Government has used tonight’s Budget to toss mere pennies at genuine emissions reduction initiatives, such as the regional renewable microgrids,” Ms Hutley said. 

“At the same time, significant funds are being spent on so-called ‘low emissions hydrogen’ and the costly and unproven carbon capture and storage. And a further $50 million dollars is being directed to accelerate polluting gas projects.

“Similarly, the temporary reduction in fuel excise – while welcome for many households – could perhaps have been better spent on supporting electric vehicles and EV infrastructure investment as well as public and active transport initiatives.

“Australia’s regions will play a critical role in the transition to a renewable economy. While the Budget offers programs for four key centres, including NSW’s Hunter Valley, there is not a whisper of transition or measures to support state governments’ initiatives.

“Ironically, while proposals for action on climate change are almost non-existent, the costs of climate-fuelled natural disasters are stark and mounting.”

The Budget estimates $5 billion will be needed over the next two years for “support measures for flood affected primary producers, small businesses, not-for-profit organisations and councils, as well as clean up, mental health and temporary accommodation measures. This will be funded equally by the federal and state governments.  

A $1.75 billion in disaster funding is earmarked alongside another $245 million for flood disaster payments. And on top of this there is $300 million provided for this year and next for NSW and Queensland to fund recovery and post-disaster resilience measures. 

“The costs of disaster recovery are stark, and yet there is nothing in this Budget that addresses the root cause of climate change, which is exacerbating these extreme weather events and their impacts.”

The Climate Council is Australia’s leading community-funded climate change communications organisation. We provide authoritative, expert and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policymakers, and the wider Australian community.

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