The NSW State Budget has turned its environmental focus on biodiversity this year, with more than $2 billion invested in programs focusing on protection, conservation and natural capital investment.

Handed down on Tuesday 21st June, the Department of Environment and Heritage announced ‘biodiversity being a….clear focus in the 2022-23 NSW Budget, with major investments in ground-breaking programs that support landholders to protect and conserve their land.’

NSW CEO, Turlough Guerin, said he welcomed further investment in the environment and community sector.

“The NSW Landcare community, and all our communities, have rallied in an incredible way over the past year in response to COVID-19, bushfires and now floods hitting our regions.

“It’s led to much loss, but an investment into biodiversity, rewarding land owners for sustainable land management and identifying the benefits of investing in building a more sustainable future is very welcome. It will better support our Landcarers to get on with the job of ensuring that our communities and environments thrive,” Mr Guerin said.

Big winners this year are $106.7 million investment in the Biodiversity Credits Supply Fund, and $206.2 million over 10 years to enhance the State’s natural capital by rewarding farmers who opt-in to a Sustainable Farming accreditation program.

In the conservation sector, large scale lobbying and warnings from environmentalists regarding their potential extinction, have created a koala focus with the NSW Government committing to $145.9 million to continue to deliver the NSW Koala Strategy.  This strategy is targeted at conservation actions with the long-term goal of doubling koala numbers in New South Wales by 2050. This is on top of the $50 million the Federal Government allocated to support the species in its most recent budget

Landcare NSW project partner, Saving Our Species, secured $60 million to continue the Saving our Species program which aims to support and restore identified threatened species from extinction (part of the existing $75 million recurrent expenses over five years announced in 2021).

Other highlights include:

  1. $24.2 million for essential environmental monitoring for air quality forecasting and alerts, and to expand water quality monitoring to more swim sites across New South Wales.
  2. $163.9 million in 2022-23 to bolster the State’s response and readiness capability to future biosecurity incursions, including enhanced response targeting endemic species.
  3. $182.0 million to deliver the 10-year NSW Government Marine Estate Management Strategy to improve water quality, estuary health and other biodiversity and environmental metrics.
  4. $163.9 million in 2022-23 to bolster the State’s response and readiness capability to future biosecurity incursions, including enhanced response targeting endemic species.
  5. $17.1 million to continue the Farm Business Resilience Program and Rural Financial Counselling Service, which provides farmers with the skills and knowledge they need to build resilience to future droughts and natural disasters.
  6. $222.1 million over four years for the National Parks and Wildlife Service across the State, to support the following investments benefiting regional communities: – the new Arc Rainforest Centre and Dorrigo Escarpment Great Walk to showcase the ancient World Heritage rainforests of the Dorrigo escarpment – the establishment of a Reserve and Activation Fund to fill critical gaps in the national parks estate and to enhance regional tourism and economic benefits
  7. $32.9 million to boost the State’s early detection and response to biosecurity threats on Lord Howe Island and protect the Island’s World Heritage ecological values.
  8. $286.2 million over four years to implement the NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041 and NSW Plastics Action Plan
  9. Continued delivery of the $49.4 million Gardens of Stone Walk near Lithgow to showcase the State’s diverse natural and cultural heritage assets.
  10. $148.4 million over two years to manage the clean-up and removal of flood and storm-related damage, debris and green waste from the 2022 floods
  11. $93.7 million over eight years for a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy to develop risk assessments, action plans and other capabilities needed to address the physical risks arising from climate change
  12. $19.8 million for Water Strategy Initiatives to address floodplain management, First Nations access and a groundwater framework.

For full budget papers click here https://www.budget.nsw.gov.au/budget-papers

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