The National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) is calling for the NSW Environment Minister, Gabrielle Upton, to resign after the NSW Government’s budget surplus provided no new funding for the environment.
NPA CEO Kevin Evans said: “This government is presiding over a once-in-a-generation glut driven by asset sales and stamp duty revenue from Sydney’s booming housing market.
“We’re asking for a billion dollar investment—on top of the climate change fund—into nature protection in recognition of the fact that the sale of public assets must be translated into a natural legacy for the NSW community.
“That sounds like a lot but, according to government figures, it’s just 0.002% of our Gross State Product.
“Yesterday, Minister Upton and Treasurer Perrottet triumphantly announced a miserly $800,000 from the budget to fit radio collars on koalas.
“That’s little more than an expensive insult. The Australian Koala Foundation estimate that koalas alone are worth $3.2 billion to the Australian economy every year and support 30,000 jobs.
“The public deserve better. These dark days of Coalition governments abandoning the environment must give way to bi-partisan recognition that we cannot have a successful economy without a healthy environment.
“NSW has fallen well behind in achieving its international commitments to biodiversity protection. As a signatory to the International Convention on Biological Diversity, NSW has voluntarily committed to protect, by 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas.
“We’re asking for $300m over three years to purchase high conservation value lands to expand the protected area network to meet these commitments. This would leave a legacy that we all could be hugely proud of.
“We want to see the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Office of Environment and Heritage receive a $200 million boost to manage the new and existing parks.
“And we’re calling for $500m to be allocated to a transition away from native forest logging on public land. This money would fund the buy-outs of timber contracts, job creation and industry restructure, forest rehabilitation, development of alternative sources of wood and fibre and infrastructure to underpin nature based tourism.
“This is the level of investment that our environment needs and the public deserves in order to protect our natural heritage for future generations.
“Either Minister Upton is not up to the task of presenting strong persuasive arguments to her cabinet colleagues to justify investing to protect our natural environment, or she doesn’t care enough to try.
“Whichever is the case, we need someone to step up to the plate and do better.
“Minister Upton must resign and make way for someone in the Coalition, and there must be someone, who cares about the environment to turn the ship around.”
Kevin Evans, CEO: 0457 797 977
NSW Department of Industry: https://www.industry.nsw.gov.au/invest-in-nsw/about-nsw/economic-growth/Size-of-NSW-economy
AKF 2014. The Economic Value of the Koala: https://www.savethekoala.com/sites/savethekoala.com/files/uploads/Conrad%202014%20The%20Economic%20Value%20of%20the%20Koala.pdf