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Budget 2020: A Green New Deal

14 May 2020

The Environmental Defence Society (EDS) has welcomed the emphasis in Budget 2020 on environmental projects that will create thousands of jobs.

“The budget announcement contends that the provision of $1.1 Billion on restoring our natural world will create nearly 11,000 new jobs in the regions where the need is substantial,” said EDS CEO Gary Taylor.

“The breakdown of that budget investment includes:

  • $433 million for new jobs in regional environmental projects
  • $315 million on biosecurity, including enhanced weed and pest control.
  • $200 million for the Department of Conservation’s Jobs for Nature Fund
  • $154 million for new jobs enhancing biodiversity on both public and private land

“The prioritisation of funding on regional environmental restoration projects is great. Who would have thought a budget announcement would ever propose investments on restoration of wetlands and cleaning sediment out of polluted waterways? This spending is not only creating new jobs but providing direct support for the Government’s freshwater reforms which we look forward to being rolled out soon.

“A dedicated investment of $100 million in control of wilding pines gives us a chance to get on top of that insidious threat to our outstanding high country landscapes, while additional funding will enable ramping up much-needed pest and weed control efforts elsewhere in the country.

“EDS has strongly supported DOC’s Jobs for Nature Fund during its gestation. The provision of $200 million for spending on restoring our natural heritage will have spinoff benefits for the recovering tourism sector.

“Finally, the allowance in the budget of an additional $154 million on new jobs enhancing biodiversity on public and private land will help the rural sector improve biodiversity outcomes and stimulate further riparian planting.  That will also complement efforts to clean up our waterways and will help achieve the objectives of the draft National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity.

“In short, these budget measures are good for both people and for nature: a green new deal.

“It is the start of a reset in economic management that now needs to flow through to the right choices for the proposed infrastructure spend. The detail of those announcements is yet to come. The projects need to be forward-looking and really transformational towards a low carbon economy,” Mr Taylor concluded.