Environment is Biggest Loser in State Budget

“The Budget shows us what the Government values. The environment is not on that list,” Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren said on the release of the State Budget this afternoon.

“The Environmental Community Grants Program has been axed, leaving conservation volunteers in the lurch. Last year, almost one and half million was provided to environmental programs, and now nothing.

“The value of this grants program was multiplied many times over by hundreds of volunteers in localised environment programs. These environment programs brought people together. It’s a loss to a sense of community and a loss to the environment we’re trying to care for.

“The Conservation Council lost heavily in 2011-12. It received its last controlled grant of $90,000 in 2010-11. Yet, the Conservation Council was making good use of the government funding it received. The conservation movement has been cut adrift.

“The Office of Climate Change has only two staff and no programme funding. The reduction across environmental agencies is putting environmental assets at greater risk. Our state’s ability to look after the environment is being eroded.

“One good piece of news is that there is no funding for the Roe Highway through the Beeliar wetlands. We’re also glad to see that the controversial Leach Highway-High Street widening has been postponed. The Government can save a lot by cancelling it all together. We should be moving freight transport to rail.

“The spending on public transport, to reduce both the cost of living and the impacts of congestion, is welcome. Rail to the airport and light rail in the metropolitan area vindicates the Greens message all along: investing in public transport is a winner for everyone.

“The Greens welcome the improvements to cycling infrastructure funded in this budget. I think the government has realised it’s a key measure to reduce Perth’s increasing traffic congestion.”