Budget risks leaving Australia’s oceans and marine life adrift

  • No substantial new funding for programs to protect and restore nature while we battle extinction crisis and devastating climate change impacts
  • Welcome funding for circular economy transition and Nature Positive Plan
  • Government undermines welcome investment in driving Australia’s renewable energy transition with subsidies for fossil fuel industry

The Albanese government’s budget has failed to deliver substantial new funding for programs to protect and restore nature and our oceans despite the ongoing extinction crisis and devastating climate change impacts, according to the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).

The budget also commits Australia to a future rusted onto opening up our oceans for more offshore gas exploration and drilling, seismic blasting and massive taxpayer subsidies for unproven carbon capture and storage – dumping carbon pollution under the sea floor.

AMCS Campaigns Director Tooni Mahto said: “We welcome committed funding for Australia’s renewable energy transition, which is vital to reduce emissions and protect Australia’s oceans. Budget commitments to the implementation of the Nature Positive Plan, and the transition to a circular economy, including strengthening the existing environmental approvals process and addressing knowledge gaps, are solid investments in the future.

“Missing is investment in programs to protect and restore our coasts and oceans to tackle the extinction crisis, which is vital for our way of life and our economic prosperity. Without this, the Albanese government will struggle to meet its commitments to no new extinctions and to increasing the protection of special places in the ocean. The government must invest so we do not risk paper policies that are not backed by the necessary resources.

“Australia’s oceans contain the richest, most diverse marine life on Earth, providing us with massive economic and social benefits. Bordering three mighty oceans, the Pacific, the Indian and the Southern, Australia has the third largest marine territory in the world, but there is no substantial new funding to protect and restore our oceans or help save our endangered marine species.

“Our marine life has never been under so much pressure, with overfishing, the continued expansion of the offshore oil and gas industry, and increasingly frequent marine heatwaves, driven by climate change, impacting the ocean all around Australia, decimating the giant kelp forests of the Great Southern Reef and causing the fifth mass coral bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef in just eight years.

“The budget gives the fossil fuel industry billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, including investing in the wild gamble that is carbon capture and storage technology to try to bury carbon pollution under the sea floor. This will only enable the continued extraction and burning of fossil fuels when the planet needs to rapidly transition to renewable energy to avoid the worsening impacts of climate change.

“The future of healthy coasts and oceans rests on government investment in protecting and restoring biodiversity, while tackling the climate crisis. The Albanese Government is charting a course for a renewable energy future, while simultaneously undermining progress with continued financial support for the fossil fuel industry and short-changing nature.”

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