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SENATOR THE HONOURABLE ROBERT HILL
MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE
22 MAY 2001
© Commonwealth of Australia 2001
ISBN 0642 45751 4
This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from the Commonwealth available from AusInfo. Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to the Manager, Legislative Services, AusInfo, GPO Box 1920, Canberra ACT 2601.
Printed by Canprint Communications Pty. Ltd.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Budget Overview
New and additional measures in the 2001-02 Budget
Summary of Commonwealth environment expenditure
Chapter 3: Strategic Directions
Priorities for 2001-02
Chapter 4: Key Environment Activities
Coasts and Oceans
Natural and Cultural Heritage
Chapter 5: The Government in Partnership
Working with the Indigenous community
Working with the international community
Appendix 1: Environment Activities by Portfolio
Appendix 2: Environment Expenditure
Appendix 3: Contact Details of Departments and Agencies
While the Federal Budget provides a snapshot of the financial and economic status of the nation we have increasingly come to question whether the health of our economy can be viewed in financial terms only.
A new wave of thinking now acknowledges that to achieve ongoing economic growth we must respect and properly manage our natural resource base. We must move toward planning for and achieving sustainable economic growth.
To achieve this we need to make the environment a key consideration in all our economic decision making processes. We must acknowledge that respecting and protecting the environment is not an optional add-on to economic growth.
Since coming to office in 1996, the Howard Government has worked hard to integrate environmental considerations into all our decision making processes.
This reflects the growing concern within local communities, the business sector, and the international community about the sustainability of economic activities.
As part of these efforts, the Howard Government has incorporated in all Federal Budgets since 1996 figures on environmental spending across all government portfolios.
This has helped drive a culture change within government that the environment is not just an issue for the Environment portfolio, but a whole-of-government issue.
For the second year running, the Howard Government will invest more than $1 billion in spending on activities to protect and repair our natural environment.
The 2001-02 Federal Budget continues to build on the Howard Government's key environmental objectives:
All of this is aimed at moving Australia toward truly sustainable management of our natural resources to guarantee our future economic prosperity.
The Howard Government has used the historic $1.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust - funded to date through the part sale of Telstra - to provide funding to local communities to implement local solutions to local environmental problems.
Already more than 300,000 Australians have been involved in around 10,000 environmental repair projects which have received funding to date of more than $1.1 billion from the Trust.
It is regrettable to note that the Coalition's commitment to invest this unprecedented sum in community efforts to protect the environment was opposed in the Senate by both the Australian Labor Party and the minor parties.
In 2001-02 a further $275 million will be invested in this important work through the Natural Heritage Trust.
In addition to this, this year's Budget provides on-going funding for the Trust with a new allocation of $1 billion over five years.
This new commitment is fitting recognition of the success to date of community-based efforts and will provide increased certainty to volunteers in on-going environmental repair efforts.
The Howard Government believes that our natural environmental problems will not be solved by the Commonwealth alone. In line with the Commonwealth's increased commitment to environmental action, we will be seeking a similar commitment from State and Territory governments through matching dollar-for-dollar funding.
This would provide an increased investment of $2 billion over the next five years for on-ground environmental repair efforts.
The 2001-02 Federal Budget also delivers on our commitment to improve Australia's performance in managing our natural resource base - how we effectively deal with issues such as land degradation and salinity in our rivers.
This year's Budget delivers the first instalment of $65 million of the Prime Minister's $700 million commitment to a National Action Plan on Salinity and Water Quality. This funding will be targeted to around 20 priority catchment areas across the nation. It will not only be used to restore and repair damage already done but also to influence better practice in natural resource management in these regions.
To reflect the growing environmental problems being faced by our major cities and the resultant impacts on the health and quality of life of their populations, the Government has increased spending on activities to reduce air pollution. Funding has been provided to implement better engine standards for our motor vehicles and better quality fuel to power them - the end result will be cleaner air in our major cities and a safer environment for our families to grow up in. New funding has also been provided to the National Pollutant Inventory to keep the community informed about the emissions to land, air and water of local industry. This, in turn, will influence better policy making at a local level and better practice from industry.
The 2001-02 Federal Budget also continues the unprecedented Commonwealth investment of almost $1 billion in activities to reduce the rate of growth of our greenhouse gas emissions. The most recent National Greenhouse Gas Inventory figures show that we have made some progress in this regard with the rate of growth of emissions being well below the rate of our economic growth. This comes on top of the Government's newly legislated targets for the increased use of renewable sources of energy by our power supplies. This new law is expected to spark a $2 billion investment boom in renewable energy projects.
The Budget also provides support for the Government's ongoing work with Australian industry to reduce its usage of natural resources, minimise its waste products and maximise its recycling. Through these efforts we have helped industry translate better environmental performance into better economic results through reduced input and waste costs.
It is a message which will become increasingly important as we strive to achieve truly sustainable development - protecting our environment is an economic benefit not an economic cost.