3 things the government must prioritise this budget

3 things the government must prioritise this budget

The Wilderness Society’s budget submission urges the federal government to invest in nature for Australia’s future.

Budgets are one way governments show what their priorities are.

Recently, the Federal Government called for submissions from to Treasury on what the priorities for the 2023‑24 budget should be. Wilderness Society made a submission (read our budget submission in full here).

In a nutshell: we're calling on the Australian government to use this budget to meaningfully address the twin global crises of climate change and biodiversity collapse. These are the most urgent of our national challenges. An investment now would resonate for millennia.

3 things that belong in the budget

Video: Wilderness Society’s Federal Policy Director, Tim Beshara, talks through the key points of our budget submission.

1. Fund the as-yet-still-unfunded stuff the Labor Party promised to do when it was elected.

Labor promised new environmental laws. To achieve that, it’ll need to have enough resources to get the job done. It promised a new Independent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but that important enforcement and compliance institution is not yet funded—and, without ongoing real investment, will be weak and ineffectual.

2. Fix the backlog from 10 years of neglect.

Previous governments left a mess of undone work. And that work was pretty simple. It goes something like this: identify the endangered species, write a plan to protect it, and fund the plan so the work gets done.

There is now a burgeoning list of species facing extinction with hundreds of recovery plans needing to be rewritten and refunded in the coming months as required by the EPBC Act. As an example, the Leadbeater’s possum is critically endangered and at risk of extinction, but has the most out of date recovery plan.

And likewise: identify the places of world or national heritage value, write the plan to protect them, and fund the plan to get the work done. But for hundreds and hundreds of our endangered species and dozens of the places we love, none of this has happened. There’s some real catching up to do!

3. Stop funding things that wreck our climate and destroy nature.

It’s pretty simple. The future of all Australians depends on the health of the continent’s ecosystems. We can't afford to dig up or burn any more fossil fuels, or continue flattening special forests and bushland. Destructive industries have got to stop. Which means government must stop subsidising these industries.