NSW Budget Neglects Biodiversity

Nature Conservation Council

June 18, 2024

The Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales (NCC), the state’s leading environmental advocacy organisation, has today expressed disappointment that the NSW budget has again failed to deliver for nature.

In the middle of an extinction crisis, funding for ecosystem restoration and threatened species is going backwards.

NSW habitat is so degraded it can only support 29% of the plants and animals it once did. 1043 plants and animals in NSW are currently listed as at risk of extinction, a 50% increase in 10 years.

Without significant public investment to grow protected areas and restore degraded ecosystems, many of the ecosystems that make our state so special will simply collapse.

The NSW Labor Government is spending just 1.61%* of the budget on the environment, which is even less than last year.

“Labor came into power promising to turn the tide, and yet this is the second year in a row nature funding, as a percentage, has declined,” NCC Chief Executive Officer Jacqui Mumford said.

“Without a seismic shift in nature investment NSW will see more extinctions and fail to meet our ’30 by 30′ Global Biodiversity Framework targets.”

Statements attributable to NCC Chief Executive Officer Jacqui Mumford

“The nature deficit needs to be addressed by proper investment in NSW’s biodiversity.

“Whilst Premier Chris Minns loves spruiking the beauty of NSW nature and posting selfies in pretty places, it’s clear biodiversity isn’t a priority for this government.

“There is a substantial investment in renewables, but NSW needs to do a lot more to turn the biodiversity crisis around.

“We need to recognise that we have a dual crisis and that spending on renewable infrastructure will not in itself stop extinction and the tragic loss of biodiversity occurring all around us.

“The number of listed threatened species continues to rise. However not even half (~40%) of these species are being managed under the Saving our Species (SoS) program. Clearly more funding is needed.

“Taxpayers are again footing the bill for the horrific destruction of our native forests, with no plans to follow Qld, Victoria and Western Australia and save the budget millions of dollars a year by ending native forest logging.”

Propping up the industrial logging of our native forests is an ongoing financial burden to NSW taxpayers. In the last 3 years, the native hardwood division of Forestry Corporation has lost $44m. NSW remains the only mainland state without a plan to phase out native forest logging, this must change.

Statement ends

Background

*Budget Paper Number 1, General government sector expenses by function shows Environmental Protection receiving $1,964m in 2024-2025, which represents 1.61% of total expenditure v 1.67% in the 2023-24 Budget v 1.73% in the 2022-23 budget.

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