Opposition Budget environment commitments welcomed

Tasmania’s peak environment body has warmly welcomed environment commitments from the Liberals and Greens in their budget reply speeches yesterday, following significant disappointment in the Tasmanian government’s decision to axe the environment department, and slash Parks, climate change and pollution control funding in last week’s budget.

The commitment from the Liberal party to establish a stand alone Department of Parks & the Environment has been particularly warmly welcomed, as has the Greens’ pledge to develop a sustainable infrastructure fund. Other positive commitments include well-thought out Tarkine management strategies, commitments to an ICAC, bringing financial accountability into the management of GBE’s including Forestry Tasmania, and more investment in renewable energy.

“The decision of the Tasmanian government to axe the environment department was a bizarre and retrograde one, which makes a mockery of Tasmania at a national level,” said Dr Phill Pullinger, Director of Environment Tasmania, “Will Hodgman’s commitment to establish a Department of Parks & the Environment in Tasmania is very warmly welcomed, as it will remove conflicts of interest in the current departmental management of the environment,” he continued

“We would also hope and anticipate that a well resourced stand-alone environment department would help deliver a more efficient use of resources currently allocated to the environment, and in turn, better outcomes for Tasmania’s natural environment on the ground,” he said.

“Less than 0.06% of the Tasmanian government’s budget was allocated to tackling climate change. This poor climate funding gives the signal that the government isn’t serious about the issue. On the other hand, the commitment from the Greens in their budget reply to develop a Sustainable Infrastructure Fund and encourage investment in renewable energy generation – is where Tassie should be heading if we are play our part in tackling climate change, and also best place ourselves in our capacity to deal with the economic challenges that it will throw up,” he concluded.

Environment Tasmania is Tasmania’s conservation council, an umbrella body that represents 25 Tasmanian conservation groups, with collective representation of over 6000 Tasmanians.