Australian Government, 2013-14 Budget
Budget

Part 2: Expense Measures (Continued)

Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Antarctica — Aurora Australis life extension works

Expense ($m)
  2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 2.6 4.0 1.3

The Government will provide $7.9 million over four years from 2012‑13 to enable high priority life extension works to be undertaken on the Aurora Australis, the multi‑purpose icebreaking vessel used to support the Australian Antarctic Program. The works are expected to extend the operational life of the vessel until the end of the 2016‑17 season.

Antarctica — maintaining Australia's presence

Expense ($m)
  2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 9.5

The Government will provide $9.5 million in 2013‑14 to maintain functions that support Australia's presence in Antarctica. The funding will contribute to the maintenance of station operations and Antarctic science projects.

Biodiversity Fund — redirection of funding

Expense ($m)
  2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities ‑11.6 ‑15.7 ‑3.0 ‑2.0

The Government will redirect funding of $32.3 million over four years from the Biodiversity Fund to other Government priorities, including the Tasmanian Forests Agreement. The fund supports the establishment, restoration, protection and management of biodiverse carbon stores, including reforestation and revegetation in areas of high conservation value, management and protection of biodiverse ecosystems and action to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Total expenditure over the eight years to 2018‑19 will remain over $1 billion.

Funding of over $250 million has already been contractually committed under the Biodiversity Fund.

See also the related expense measure titled Tasmanian Forests Agreement — implementation package in the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Portfolio.

Biodiversity Fund — rephasing of funding

Expense ($m)
  2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities ‑50.9 ‑70.6 ‑53.7 ‑50.2

The Government will rephase funding of $225.4 million over four years from 2013‑14 from the Biodiversity Fund to 2017‑18 and 2018‑19. Total expenditure over the eight years to 2018‑19 will remain over $1.0 billion.

Funding of over $250 million has already been contractually committed under the Biodiversity Fund. The Biodiversity Fund supports the establishment, restoration, protection and management of biodiverse carbon stores, including reforestation and revegetation in areas of high conservation value, management and protection of biodiverse ecosystems and action to prevent the spread of invasive species.

This measure is part of the reforms to the Clean Energy Future package due to the lower projected carbon price estimates.

Bureau of Meteorology — recommissioning of Tennant Creek radar

Expense ($m)
  2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Bureau of Meteorology 0.2 0.2
Bureau of Meteorology 0.5

The Government will provide $0.8 million over two years to enable the Bureau of Meteorology to recommission the weather radar at Tennant Creek, Northern Territory, to improve in radar coverage for the Tennant Creek and Barkly regions.

The measure includes capital funding of $0.5 million for the purchase and installation of radar equipment and associated infrastructure.

Caring for our Country — redirection of funding

Expense ($m)
  2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities ‑21.0 ‑4.7 ‑9.1 ‑13.4 ‑9.1
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry ‑14.1 ‑17.0 ‑25.9 ‑27.2
Total — Expense ‑21.0 ‑18.7 ‑26.1 ‑39.3 ‑36.3

The Government will redirect funding of $141.5 million over five years from 2012‑13 from the Caring for our Country program to drought reform, the Tasmanian Forests Agreement and expanded Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 activities to protect our water resources. Caring for our Country is an ongoing Australian Government initiative for the delivery of sustainable natural resource management.

Caring for our Country will continue to deliver funding of $2.1 billion over five years from 2013‑14 for projects which meet the objectives of the program.

See also the related expense measures titled Tasmanian Forests Agreement — implementation package and National Drought Reform in the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Portfolio and Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act — water resources amendment in the Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities Portfolio.

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act — deferral

Expense ($m)
  2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities ‑2.3 ‑5.3 ‑0.4 ‑1.6
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities ‑4.1 ‑7.7 ‑4.1 ‑2.2 0.3

The Government will reduce funding by $9.7 million over four years for the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities following a decision to delay the introduction of amendments to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the Act) until 1 July 2014. The legislative amendments will support the delivery of the Government's response to an independent review of the Act.

The Government will also defer the introduction of enhanced cost recovery arrangements for administrative functions under the Act from 1 December 2012 to 1 July 2014. The deferral will reduce revenue by $17.8 million over five years from 2012‑13.

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act — water resources amendment

Expense ($m)
  2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 8.5 10.2 9.9 10.0
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 5.8 5.9 6.0

The Government will provide $38.5 million over four years to implement an amendment to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to include coal seam gas and large coal mining development which has, or is likely to have, a significant impact on a water resource as a new matter of national environmental significance. The measure involves an expanded assessment, compliance and enforcement role for the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities and an increased role for the Independent Expert Scientific Committee.

The cost of the reforms will be partially offset through enhanced cost recovery arrangements from July 2014. These changes are estimated to increase revenue by $17.7 million over three years.

Further information can be found in the press release of 12 March 2013 issued by the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.

Fisheries Adjustment Assistance Package — establishment

Expense ($m)
  2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations 0.1 0.1
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities ‑0.1 ‑0.2
Total — Expense ‑0.1

The Government will implement a Fisheries Adjustment Assistance Package to support the creation of a network of Commonwealth marine reserves. The package will assist fishing businesses and their employees to adjust to the establishment of the network and includes funding for the purchase of fishing entitlements where the removal of fishing effort is required. Final details of the package will be determined after further consultation with stakeholders, however, assistance is expected to commence from early 2013‑14 once the management plans for the new reserves are in place.

This measure includes funding of $0.3 million over four years from 2015‑16 to provide redundant workers with immediate access to intensive employment services through Job Services Australia.

The cost of this measure will be met from within the existing resourcing of the Caring for our Country program.

Further information can be found in the press release of 16 November 2012 issued by the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.

Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative — reduced funding

Expense ($m)
  2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
Department of the Treasury ‑22.9
Total — Expense ‑22.9

The Government will reduce funding by $22.9 million under the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative due to slower than expected take up.

The remaining program funding of $16.8 million in 2013‑14 will continue to be available for the repair of uncontrolled artesian bores and the replacement of open bore drains with piped reticulation systems in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Liverpool Plains Regional Water Supply Strategy — design and scoping study

Expense ($m)
  2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 0.4

The Government will provide $0.4 million in 2013‑14 for the Liverpool Plains Shire Council in northern New South Wales to undertake a detailed design and scoping study of the remaining stages of the Liverpool Plains Regional Water Supply Strategy. The study will involve investigation of the cost of pipelines, a new water treatment plant and related infrastructure.

Murray‑Darling Basin Plan — additional support

Expense ($m)
  2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Department of the Treasury 17.3 10.4 6.9
Murray‑Darling Basin Authority
National Water Commission .. .. .. ..
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities ‑0.5 ‑0.8 ‑0.5 ‑0.8 21.3
Total — Expense ‑0.5 16.4 9.8 6.1 21.2
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities ‑2.5 ‑19.3 ‑39.3 ‑30.6 ‑21.3

The Government will provide $3.5 billion over twelve years ($6.2 million in 2012‑13, $40.2 million in 2013‑14, $60.5 million in 2014‑15, $136.0 million in 2015‑16, $246.5 million in 2016‑17 and $3.0 billion beyond the forward estimates) to support the implementation of the Murray‑Darling Basin Plan, including:

  • initiatives to increase the amount of water available for productive use (by 650 gigalitres) through water offset projects, while achieving equivalent environmental outcomes to those contained in the Basin Plan;
  • initiatives to increase the amount of water available for the environment (by 450 gigalitres), with no adverse social or economic impacts, and to remove key constraints that limit the delivery of environmental water and associated environmental outcomes, with funding of $1.8 billion provided through the Water for the Environment Special Account;
  • funding to assist the Basin States to meet the additional costs of implementing the Basin Plan, with the National Water Commission to conduct assessments of Basin State performance against milestones under a new National Partnership on Implementing Water Reform in the Murray‑Darling Basin;
  • enhanced local engagement on water reform in regional centres of the Basin;
  • additional environmental water research in the Basin; and
  • projects to improve the health of significant floodplain wetlands in the Riverland region of South Australia.

The measure includes the deferral of expenditure under the Restoring the Balance in the Murray‑Darling Basin program to allow for a slower pace of water recovery until 2015‑16, based on the prospect that the total volume of water entitlements to be purchased will be reduced by water offset projects.

The cost of this measure will be partially met by redirecting funding from the Restoring the Balance in the Murray‑Darling Basin program and partially from within the existing resourcing of the Water for the Future initiative.

Funding for this measure was included as a 'decision taken but not yet announced' partly in the 2012‑13 Budget and partly in the Mid‑Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2012‑13. The Government has subsequently amended the funding profile for some components of the measure.

See also the related capital measure titled Water for the Future — bridging the gap in the Murray‑Darling Basin — extension.

Further information can be found in the press releases of 26 and 28 October 2012 issued by the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.

Reef Rescue — continuation

Expense ($m)
  2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0
Department of the Treasury ‑2.0 ‑2.0 ‑2.0 ‑2.0
Total — Expense

The Government will provide $200.0 million over five years ($39.0 million in 2013‑14, $43.0 million in 2014‑15, $46.0 million in 2015‑16, $38.5 million in 2016‑17 and $33.5 million in 2017‑18) to continue the Reef Rescue program. The program aims to improve the quality of water entering the Great Barrier Reef by helping land managers to adopt improved agricultural and urban management practices that reduce the discharge of nutrients, sediments and pesticides into the reef lagoon.

Funding for some riparian clean‑up, requested as part of Natural Disaster Recovery and Rebuilding — assistance for communities, will be delivered through this measure. The remainder will be met from within the existing resources of the Caring for our Country program and the Biodiversity Fund.

See also the related expense measure titled Natural Disaster Recovery and Rebuilding — assistance for communities affected by the 2012‑13 Queensland floods in the Attorney‑General's portfolio.

Synthetic greenhouse gases and ozone depleting substances — implementation of destruction incentives program and reduction in regulatory burden

Expense ($m)
  2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities ‑16.1 ‑19.9 ‑24.5 ‑24.7
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities ‑0.5 ‑0.5 ‑0.5 ‑0.5
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 1.0 0.2 0.2 0.2

The Government will implement a destruction incentives program for waste synthetic greenhouse gases and ozone depleting substances by providing additional support to the existing industry funded and operated destruction incentives program and putting in place complementary measures to increase emissions abatement.

The Government will also reduce the regulatory burden associated with the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas legislation, including by introducing new exemptions from licensing requirements and from the cost recovery levy and/or the equivalent carbon price. The exemptions include synthetic greenhouse gases imported or manufactured for use in medical or veterinary devices or veterinary medicines, synthetic greenhouse gases used in a manufacturing process and intentionally destroyed through a recognised destruction technology as part of the manufacturing process, and low volume importers.

Funding for a destruction scheme was provided in the Mid‑Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2011‑12 as part of the measure titled Clean Energy Future — Putting a Price on Pollution — synthetic greenhouse gases and ozone depleting substances. The current measure will provide net savings of $81.5 million over four years from 2013‑14.

Voluntary product stewardship — implementation

Expense ($m)
  2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1

The Government will provide $0.4 million over five years for the accreditation of voluntary product stewardship arrangements established under the Product Stewardship Act 2011 (the Act). The Act provides a framework to effectively manage the environmental, health and safety impacts of products, particularly those associated with the disposal of products.

The cost of this measure will be met through the introduction of cost recovery arrangements for the assessment of applications for accreditation from January 2013.

Water for the Future — urban water programs — reduced funding

Expense ($m)
  2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities ‑7.4 ‑2.2

The Government will reduce funding by $9.6 million over two years from 2012‑13 under the National Urban Water and Desalination Plan ($4.4 million in 2012‑13 and $2.2 million in 2013‑14), the National Water Security Plan for Cities and Towns ($2.7 million in 2012‑13) and Water Smart Australia ($0.3 million in 2012‑13).

The remaining funding of $298.7 million over four years from 2012‑13 ($195.3 million over four years for the National Urban Water and Desalination Plan, $94.7 million over four years for the National Water Security Plan for Cities and Towns and $8.7 million in 2012‑13 for Water Smart Australia) will continue to be available for projects which meet the objectives of the urban water programs.

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