Overall the budget is a big disappointment for conservation. Vote Conservation, when adjusting for the Battle for our Birds funding, represents a $22 million reduction over last year: $452 million for 2015-16 versus $430 million for 2016-17. However you spin it, it’s not the major uplift conservation groups have been arguing for all year. The only response to burgeoning tourist pressures that looks anything like strategic is $12 million for infrastructure (including toilets).
On the up side, there’s an additional $16 million in MPI’s budget for wilding pines removal and there’s $20 million (carry over from the current year’s supplementary funding) for Battle for our Birds. The $100 million for freshwater clean-up needs more work on the criteria to ensure it’s not just an additional source of subsidy for irrigation.
For EDS this is an extraordinary failure of public policy and shows that the environmental movement has got a lot more work to do to get through to the Government on conservation funding. A lot more work.