Climate change, energy and the environment


Budget Review 2009-10 Index

Budget 2009 10: Climate change, energy and the environment

Environment

Louise Emmett and Bill McCormick

Caring for our Country
National Heritage
National Parks
Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities Program

Caring for our Country

The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) Portfolio Budget Statements 2009–10 includes a budget measure indicating that there has been a reallocation of $32.4 million over each of the next four years. This was not included in Budget Paper No. 2 because this is a reclassification of administered funding under Caring for our Country to the departmental expenses of DEWHA ($25.3 million) and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry ($7.1 million), amounting to a total of $129.6 million over four years. Such a transfer of a significant amount of funding is relatively rare and there have to be very good reasons for making the transfer.

(2) Amounts relating to these measures reflect a reclassification of administered funding under Caring for our Country to DEWHA departmental expenses. Funding will continue to be spent on core departmental activities and administration of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, as it was when it was previously part of Caring for our Country. Under this reclassification, $7.1 million per annum will also be appropriated to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. These measures do not appear in Budget Paper No. 2.[1]

Under the reclassification, $12.9 million per annum is allocated to DEWHA core funding and $12.4 million per annum allocated to activities under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999). These activities have previously been delivered through these two departmental areas within DEWHA but were paid for from the Natural Heritage Trust funds until the end of 2007–08 and Caring for our Country funds through 2008–09.

National Heritage

Starting in 2010–11, the provision of $5 million per year for three years for the protection and conservation of historic built properties on the National and Commonwealth Heritage Lists will fill the gap left by the cessation of a similar program, the National Heritage Investment Initiative (NHII) this financial year. The NHII was a $10.5 million competitive grants program that ran from 2005–06 through 2008–09. However due to limited funding there were no funding rounds in 2008–09.[2]

The gap in funding between the last round of the NHII in 2007–08 and the start of National and Commonwealth historic built heritage program in 2010–11 will be partly filled in 2009–10 by $6 million from the Government’s Jobs Fund for the conservation of National–listed and Commonwealth–listed historic built heritage sites.[3]

National Parks

Management of Commonwealth terrestrial reserves will be provided with an additional $26.0 million over four years (including capital funding of $5.5 million over two years). These reserves include Booderee National Park, Christmas Island National Park, Kakadu National Park, Norfolk Island National Park, Pulu (Keeling) National Park and Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park. Funding will be used for purposes such as to remove or treat asbestos in a number of park buildings, manage historic sites in Kakadu National Park, and to upgrade assets in Commonwealth parks and reserves.[4] The measure aims to create job opportunities, enhance the quality of Commonwealth parks and help build sustainable long–term growth in remote Australia for nature–based tourism markets.[5]

There will also be a continuation of the supplementary funding of $7.6 million over four years to the Director of National Parks specifically for Kakadu National Park. This supplementation was initiated to compensate park management for the loss of revenue from the abolition of park entry fees in December 2004.[6] In October 2008 Environment Minister Peter Garrett accepted the recommendation of the Director of National Parks to reinstate park use fees in Kakadu National Park from 1 April 2010, with a full exemption for Northern Territorians. The fees are expected to generate $4.5 million in net revenue from the 85 per cent of visitors who travel from interstate or overseas. Traditional owners of Kakadu National Park will receive 38.8 per cent of the fee revenue.[7] The supplementary funding will cover the cost of the ongoing fee exemption for Northern Territorians and will be targeted to protect biodiversity, control weeds and feral animals and manage visitor facilities.[8]

Over the next five years $69 million is being made available under the Working for Country program to create 210 new environmental jobs for Indigenous rangers in remote and regional Australia.[9] The initiative will provide funding for 100 Indigenous rangers, as well as 60 flexible part–time or seasonal positions, and 50 trainee positions.[10] While some funding details for this commitment are given ($16.8 million over four years) in the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts Portfolio Budget Statements 200910,[11] the remainder is included with a much larger funding total under the Closing the Gap program in the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.[12]

Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities Program

Savings of $10 million over three years are to be redirected from the Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities (CERF) Program to offset measures in the DEWHA portfolio.[13] CERF was a five year $100 million program established in 2005–06 of which $40 million was provided for a Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility and the remaining $60 million used to fund additional environmental research, to be allocated nationally on a competitive tender basis in rounds in July 2006 and July 2008.[14]

To date, $56.5 million of the $60 million of the Nation–wide research component has been allocated.[15] However it is not clear how much of the $40 million funding for the Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility has been allocated.

The savings from the CERF program will be over the three year period from 2011–12 through 2012–13. Although it was originally a five year program, DEWHA has advised that the Howard Government decided to change the program to ongoing funding. It is not clear what the level of remaining ongoing funding for the program will be over the next four years.



[1].    Australian Government, Portfolio budget statements 2009–10: budget related paper no.1.6: Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts Portfolio, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2009, p. 30, viewed 20 May 2009, http://www.environment.gov.au/about/publications/budget/2009/pbs/pubs/pbs-2009-10.pdf.

[2].    Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, ‘National Heritage Investment Initiative’ viewed 14 May 2009, http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/programs/nhii/index.html

[3].    Australian Government, ‘Part 2: Expense measures’, Budget measures: budget paper no.2: 2009–2010, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2009, p 191, viewed 20 May 2009, http://www.aph.gov.au/budget/2009-10/content/bp2/download/bp_2.pdf

[4].    Budget measures: budget paper no.2: 2009–2010, p. 195.

[5].    P Garrett (Minister for Environment, Heritage and the Arts), $74.9 million for heritage projects to support local jobs, media release, Canberra, 12 May 2009, viewed 15 May 2009, http://www.environment.gov.au/minister/garrett/2009/budmr20090512c.html

[6].    G Hunt (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage) and D Tollner, Kakadu free from December 20 2004, media release, 2 December 2004, viewed 19 May 2009, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressrel%2F0XLE6%22

[7].    P Garrett (Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts), Kakadu fees in 2010, media release, 30 October 2008, viewed 19 May 2009, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressrel%2F6EZR6%22

[8].    P Garrett (Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts), More than $33 million in new funding for national parks, media release, 12 May 2009, viewed 19 May 2009, http://www.environment.gov.au/minister/garrett/2009/budmr20090512c.html

[9].    W Snowdon, (Minister for Defence Science and Personnel), Federal budget delivers on the NT environment, media release, Canberra, 12 May 2009, viewed 15 May 2009, http://www.warrensnowdon.com/media/090512b.htm

[10]. P Garrett (Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts), $69 million for more indigenous rangers working on country, media release, 12 May 2009, viewed 19 May 2009, http://www.environment.gov.au/minister/garrett/2009/budmr20090512e.html

[11]. Portfolio budget statements 2009–10: budget related paper no.1.6: Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts Portfolio, p 25.

[12]. Budget measures: budget paper no.2: 2009–2010, p. 211.

[13]. Budget measures: budget paper no.2: 2009–2010, p. 194.

[14].  Australian Government, ‘Part 2: Expense measures’, Budget measures: budget paper no.2: 2005–2006, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2005, p. 151, viewed 20 May 2009, http://www.budget.gov.au/2005-06/bp2/download/bp2.pdf

[15]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, ‘Nation–wide research’ ,viewed 20 May 2009, http://www.environment.gov.au/programs/cerf/research.html


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