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Australian Conservation Foundation budget comment.



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Media Release 22 May 2001

Australian Conservation Foundation Budget Comment ACF Executive Director Don Henry and ACF Campaigns Director John Connor are in Canberra today to comment on the Federal budget.

"The 2001/02 Commonwealth Budget is a crucial opportunity to allocate funds for the urgent repair of rural and regional land degradation and to kickstart the environmental modernisation of Australia's economy," Mr Henry said.

ACF is calling for:

An increase in public investment in land and water repair to $3.7 billion a year (based on the landmark ACF/National Farmers Federation report released in 2000. The report found land degradation across Australia is costing $2 billion a year in lost productivity and the cost is rapidly accelerating);

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The axing of subsidies for environmentally-damaging industries, raising at least $2 billion a year; ●

A tax on greenhouse pollutants with an emissions trading and carbon tax regime raising over $1 billion a year in a revenue-neutral reform package replacing, for example, payroll taxes;

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The provision of up to $500 million for science and technology by not proceeding with the new nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights.

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Greenhouse expenditure to be tied to the ratification of the Kyoto Treaty and national greenhouse laws; and ●

Natural Heritage Trust expenditure to be tied directly to national landclearing laws. ●

Instead, pre-budget leaks indicate:

Funding for the Natural Heritage Trust will drop from an average $300 million a year to $200 million a year; and ●

The new Commonwealth $100 million a year contribution to the National Salinity Action Plan will be milked to pay administration costs for the Department of Agriculture Forests and Fisheries Australia.

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"This Budget is a crucial opportunity for Australia to begin the shift to a truly sustainable economy - a carbon-light economy, protecting our natural assets and focussing on the knowledge economy of the 21st century," Mr Henry said.

For more budget information and comment, contact: ACF Executive Director Don Henry 03 9926 6701 ACF Campaigns Director John Connor 0409 935 044 ACF Communications Co-ordinator Bruce Atherton 0417 032 698

 

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