2024-25 Federal Budget delivers strong investment in clean energy, but "minimum deposit" on nature

Queensland Conservation Council has welcomed the Commonwealth Government's 2024-25 Budget's investment in renewables, clean industries, and a Future Made in Australia.

However, this budget is still missing investment of similar scale to map our threatened animals and plants, or funds to expand our national parks and protected areas.

Queensland Conservation Council Director Dave Copeman said:

This budget delivers continued leadership in transforming our economy to become a renewable superpower that protects our jobs, exports, and the climate, but only delivers a minimum downpayment towards achieving a strong Nature Positive plan.

The $121m for the new Environment Protection Australia is a downpayment on the much-needed Nature Positive Plan.

After 20 years of inadequate federal environmental regulation identified by the Samuel review, this is the first downpayment on a better system that protect the animals and plants we love.

Queensland forests and wetlands that are essential habitat for threatened species are being cleared at more than 300,000 hectares a year, overwhelmingly by the beef industry, without federal laws being enforced.

Queensland native forests continue to be logged without federal protection, destroying the homes of the endangered greater gliders. This budget funds a federal EPA that can take action to investigate and protect their homes.

We need the whole nature positive plan, but introducing and funding a strong EPA is an important start.

The Future Made in Australia is really important for the future economy of Queensland.

We strongly welcome the parts of the $22.7bn investment that invests in building solar panels, processing critical minerals, and producing green hydrogen.

We need an economy that gives the Great Barrier Reef its best chance at survival. We must make a transition from the coal and gas that drives climate change, to clean exports that are processed with the renewable energy that Queensland has such a strong competitive advantage.

The big missing section for conservation in this budget is investment in new national parks, or stronger action for recovery plans for threatened species.

We can't reach the 30% target the Federal Government has set for protected areas by 2030 without significant investment in new national parks and other protected areas, beyond just the Commonwealth National Parks in the ACT and NT.

The budget still is missing the investment in preventing extinctions, to save the species that are endangered and critically endangered. While a stronger EPA and nature restoration programs will help, more is needed to fund recovery plans and restoration measures across threatened species.