This week saw the announcement of the Federal Budget for 2021-22. Those elements relevant to natural resource management within this budget include biosecurity, soils, climate adaptation and resilience, environment protection and biodiversity stewardship. Key highlights of the budget are listed below:
- $196.9 million in new funding over four years to implement the National Soil Strategy and associated measures as part of an Australian Government Action Plan.
A National Soil Monitoring and Incentives Pilot Program is set to receive $120 million. The two-year trial aims to improve our understanding of Australia’s soil condition and how to better manage it, assess the impact of land management practices on soil, assist farmers to improve their productivity and profitability, and better support farmers to participate in the Emissions Reduction Fund.
Climate adaptation and resilience
- $210 million for an Australian Climate Service to better connect and leverage the Australian Government’s extensive climate and natural disaster risk data, information and capabilities. The Service will draw and build on the expertise of the Bureau of Meteorology, Geoscience Australia, CSIRO and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in a powerful new partnership to support this generation and the next.
- Support for innovation and to trial new programs to help farmers to increase biodiversity on their land.
- Budget investments include: $22.3 million to deliver a pilot stewardship program, $5.4 million to implement an Australian farm biodiversity certification scheme, $4.4 million to establish a Biodiversity Trading Platform.
- The pilot stewardship program will be a scientifically robust on-ground trial that aims to improve existing native vegetation on farms. It will test biodiversity protocols developed by the Australian National University. This new funding will allow around 140 farmers across several Natural Resource Management regions to participate in the trial. Farmers participating in the trial will be required to improve the protection and management of existing high value native vegetation. Farmers with target vegetation can apply to receive a price offer for a commitment to long-term management actions.
- Reduction and prevention activities to reduce the economic and environmental burden of established feral animals, pests and weeds - $29.1 million over 4 years.
- Ensure Australia continues to have a robust biosecurity preparedness and response capability in the event of a pest and disease outbreak - $67.4 million over 4 years.
- $58.4 million to be invested in threatened species protection and reforming environmental approvals - split into;
- $29.1 million to protect native species from threats posed by invasive pest animals and plants, comprising of
- $19 million to support research and the development of management technologies, and further coordination of control activities.
- $6 million for Natural Resource Management groups to deliver pest reduction to protect and recover threatened species.
- $4 million to expand the role of Indigenous Rangers in on-ground pest management, focusing on protecting biodiversity and cultural values
- $29.3 million for environmental law reform - through an independent Environment Assurance Commissioner, a pilot regional plan for a priority development region, and maintaining on-time environmental approvals and assessments under the EPBC Act.
- $30.7 million - for practical on ground action to restore and account for blue carbon ecosystems, such as seagrass and mangroves, that absorb carbon dioxide.
- $11.6 million - to expand Indigenous Protected Areas to include Sea Country, creating jobs and protecting biodiversity.
- $18 million - for practical actions to protect our threatened marine species and improve the sustainability of our fisheries.
A link to all Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment factsheets can be found at the link: https://www.awe.gov.au/about/reporting/budget/factsheets#enviro-budget-measures
A link to the media release from Hon Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment can be found here: https://minister.awe.gov.au/ley/media-releases/budget-2021-22-supporting-oceans-recycling-biodiversity-and-climate-resilience