Last night the 2010–11 Victorian State budget was handed down by the Treasurer, John Lenders. I was interested in finding out what it means for the environment and funding for the regional catchment management authorities and have had a closer look at the numbers.
The budget provides $20M to acquire 15,000ha of volcanic planes grassland, $3.4M work on an estate on Philip Island, and $6.4M to tackle weeds and pests. Another $18.8M is allocated to parks. Potentially some of the $6.4M for weed and pest management might find its way to the regional CMAs, but there does not appear to be much focus on rehabilitation of catchments and waterways.
In comparison there is high investment into policing ($561M), roads ($440M), health ($600M), and a range of more interesting smaller amounts such as $18M for new car parks, $26M to reduce women’s imprisonment, $17M for automated number plate recognition technology, and $3M for a new home for Circus Oz.
I think all of us who are committed to protecting the environment would feel a little disappointed with the focus and emphasis of the 2010-11 budget.