The Australian Greens have today expressed concerns that NRM groups across WA are facing the prospect of serious funding cuts in the May Budget.
“Community groups are contacting me about their concerns over the future of funding for NRM projects and groups,” Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens agriculture spokesperson said today.
“There are concerns that on-going contracts will not be fulfilled, that funding will not be renewed, and that there will be few new projects, putting important environmental programs and jobs at risk.
“Natural resource management work is essential for landscape repair and sustainable agriculture. It is a crucial part of preparing for a drying and warming climate, and protecting WA’s amazing natural environment and biodiversity. Our state has a strong tradition of landcare, and of local and regional NRM groups taking the lead on crucial land management and conservation issues. This tradition will be jeopardised if the sector is punished by budget cuts over the coming months.
“The signs from Tony Abbott are not good, given the fact his government has already directed funding for landcare and WA drought assistance to other parts of the country and have even gone so far as to completely redirect NRM funding to unrelated areas, such as the pink batts Royal Commission.
“WA is facing increased threats from a warming and drying climate. CSIRO modelling has shown that changes to rainfall are occurring faster than anticipated. As this trend continues, our natural environment and agricultural sectors will come under increasing pressure.
“Now is the time to invest in proven measures to protect our land and our environment. NRM plays a key role in protecting our agricultural sector and rural communities. It is crucial that the Federal Government drives investment NRM and in research and innovation needed to sustain agricultural productivity, regional jobs and food security,” Senator Siewert concluded.