Media Releases - 15 May 2024

Albanese government thumbs its nose at nature in 2024-25 budget

The 2024-25 budget did not commit any funding for better protecting threatened species or their habitats. Image: Wayne Lawler/

The Albanese government has left many of its environment promises unfunded and unachievable in the disappointing budget announcement last night, showing once again that nature is not yet a priority.

While the government provided extensive funds for the transition to renewables, the budget did not commit any funding for better protecting threatened species, or their habitats. Nor was any sorely needed funding budgeted for the implementation of threatened species recovery plans. This is despite the Environment Minister’s commitment to no new extinctions.

The Environment Protection Agency (EPA), which was hailed by the government as the primary focus of its promised suite of reforms for the foreseeable future last month, has also attracted no further budget commitments for its compliance and enforcement functions, despite being touted as a “tough cop on the beat”. While the Albanese government has committed significant funding to support the renewable energy sector, without proper protection for nature and appropriately funded and enforced approvals processes, there is a risk that Australia will repeat the same mistakes of the industrial revolution that landed nature in this crisis to begin with.

Other notable exclusions include a lack of further funding for the good management of World Heritage areas, and the critical work of bringing forward new nominations, for places like the Great Australian Bight. No budget was committed to support the government in achieving its 30 by 30 obligations under the Global Biodiversity Framework, threatening Australia’s global reputation on its management of biodiversity.

This budget ignores the vital connection between community wellbeing and thriving nature, a link which is underscored by the government’s own Measuring What Matters framework which highlights the importance of biodiversity for both the economy and quality of life.

Sam Szoke-Burke, Biodiversity Policy & Campaign Manager for the Wilderness Society, said, “Australia is in a biodiversity crisis on par with the climate crisis. Species and habitats are declining at an alarming rate due to successive governments’ failure to fund nature protection and restoration. The Albanese government has again responded to this crisis with shrugged shoulders and more of the same. It’s clear that nature is not yet a priority for the Albanese government—a government that was elected on the promise of environment and climate action.

“This October, Australia will be hosting the world’s first Global Nature Positive Summit. This budget is an unfortunate indicator that Australia risks showing up to its own environment summit empty-handed.

“By deprioritising nature in the budget, Treasurer Jim Chalmers is not only disregarding a vital public good, he is also thumbing his nose at approximately half of Australia’s GDP, which comes from sectors dependent on healthy ecosystems. Doing so also ignores the government’s own Measuring What Matters framework, which underlined the importance of biodiversity for both the economy and quality of life. Nature needs a well-resourced environment department and environment protection agency, and this budget fails to deliver on either.”

For further information or interviews please contact Rhiannon Cunningham, media adviser for the Wilderness Society on [email protected] or 0419 992 760