Wondering how to sift through the complex political thing that is the federal budget? Wondering how this might impact our environment? Let’s have a look.
In the May 2023 budget, its key initiatives for a “secure economy” are as follows:
- A further $4 billion to our renewable energy superpower plan.
- $2 billion to make Australia a world leading hydrogen producer.
- $1.3 billion to support more than 170,000 energy-saving home upgrades.
- Establishing the National Net Zero Authority.
In this it also states it will invest in:
- $500 million to modernise and grow Australia’s industrial capabilities.
- A future made in Australia and shoring up our supply chains.
- Value for money in the pipeline for infrastructure investment.
We’ve established that fossil fuels and burning energy is the number one contributor to the climate crisis, with Australia being one of the biggest providers in the industry and so, funding cleaner and more sustainable energy is a step in the right direction. Homes, social housing, and small businesses will all receive these energy-saving upgrades, saving on cost as well as reducing carbon pollution.
Next, not only is $2 billion going toward new hydrogen production projects, but an extra $2 million is being invested in First Nations communities to engage with these projects. This is a great step away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy through wind and sunlight.
Finally, the National Net Zero Authority will influence the entire economy through companies and businesses becoming more environmentally conscious and using cleaner, more sustainable methods of operation.
As great as these changes are, here are some things the federal budget has got lots of people shaking their heads at.
- The government has a surplus of $4.2 billion which is due to the profitability of mining, coal, and gas companies, as well as more people paying taxes as a result of increased employment rates. As if burning fossil fuels wasn’t problematic enough, now it directly impacts the taxes people are paying.
- It’s funding $6.7 million in gas in Australia. Pretty self-explanatory why this is bad.
- Fossil fuel subsidies continue and will rack up to approximately $41 billion over the next four years. This is more than what they spent on climate incentives collectively.
- Lastly, no further funding has been implemented for conservation of areas, habitats and animal care.
Overall, I’d say it’s two steps forward and one giant step back. The tug of war between money and saving the environment continues. If you are interested in how the budget affects you as a student, check out Opus’s article on breaking down the budget.
Hi, I’m Sami Peters and I am the Environment and Global Change Reporter for Opus. I study a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English and Writing. I love reading, writing, dancing, and the beach. I have a lot of passions but to combine two of my favourites: the environment and writing… that’s the dream.