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State Budget Missing in Climate and Environmental Action

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 12 November 2020

Tags: State Budget

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader

After one of the most challenging years for Tasmanians in living memory, Peter Gutwein’s first Budget as Premier fails to address the dual threat – the climate emergency and pandemic emergency.
As the first Liberal Minister for Climate Change, Peter Gutwein should be doing everything he can to keep the carbon in the ground and protect biodiversity.
In a time of climate emergency and biodiversity crisis, there is no justification for native forest logging.  Instead of ending native forest logging, the Liberals have continued subsidising this archaic climate destroying industry – with $8M of public funds going to Forestry Tasmania, and $5.1 million to TasRail to transport logs.
The Budget Papers also reveal Forestry Tasmania’s dividend lasted about five minutes.
There is no conservation funding provided for our globally significant Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The only money that appears is for driving more and more visitors into lutruwita’s protected areas.
The Liberals have obviously attempted to quell the angling community, angry at the government’s commitment to privatisise the Western Lakes, by trout-barrelling – with a freeze on trout licence fees. They have also handed $215K to the Anglers Alliance, who made public statements against the development at Lake Malbena in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park.
The State Budget includes $300K for the Liberals’ politically driven takayna/Tarkine tracks court case. In NAIDOC Week, this is a slap in the face to lutruwita/Tasmania’s First People.


Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Climate Change spokesperson
Tasmanians who want reassurance the government recognises, and is prepared to act and protect them from, the threat of global heating will be disturbed by this year’s State Budget.
As the first Liberal Minister for Climate Change, Peter Gutwein has provided no funding for the 2022-26 Climate Change Action Plan – a massive missed opportunity.
There is a woeful $100K allocated to the Emissions Reduction Loan Scheme. In the midst of a climate emergency, this is not enough to drive lutruwita/Tasmania’s emissions down.
While it seems like a long time ago, bushfires ravaged lutruwita/Tasmania and the mainland in the last two summers. This State Budget ignores the distressing reality of an ever heating climate.
SES and TFS volunteers bear the brunt of disaster response, expected to increase with climate heating, yet get scant support in this Budget.

The commitment to ‘sustain and grow’ our remote area firefighting capability is backed by a woeful $160,000 a year, with the total budget to support SES volunteers statewide is $500K, both of which stop in 2 years.  We’re not sure if the Liberals think climate-related disasters will have plateaued by then?
Funding for threatened species protection is cut in the forward estimates, when the Tasmanian devil funding ends. Do the Liberals expect, while they continue logging its habitat, we will have saved our iconic emblem by then? When we desperately need to monitor threatened populations and develop recovery plans for hundreds of species, there is nothing in the Budget to do this work.  
While the Premier has made some steps forward, he should be doing everything in his power to protect future generations from the climate emergency.