How the 2023 Federal Budget Benefits the Environment
No matter where you sit on the political spectrum, the environment doesn’t care, science doesn’t care and the hastening effects of climate change don’t care.
All that matters to them is if humans will or will not invest in the technology, infrastructure, education, and processes required to keep the Earth cool.
So, in the wake of the Australian Labour Government’s Federal Budget for the 2023–24 financial year, we’ve dissected what it means for the environmental sector.
As experts in environmental consulting, WolfPeak is concerned with the impacts on both the environment and the economy, so we’ve taken a wide lens to understand how these things can grow in tandem thanks to the latest Budget.
Residential energy powers up
As Australia’s cost of living continues to rise, the Budget looked after our power bills with $1 billion devoted to household energy upgrades.
PWith a cold winter forecast, this will help to upgrade 110,000 homes to keep warm while not skipping meals to keep the lights on.
It is hoped that these upgrades can include things such as more efficient lighting fixtures and solar installations to keep carbon pollution at a minimum.
A Hydrogen Headstart
TIn its attempts to be “a world-leading hydrogen producer”, the government has invested $2 billion in its new program, Hydrogen Headstart.
This program aims to drive innovation by establishing the Power Australia Industry Growth Centre. The addition brings the country’s investment in renewable energy to more than $40 billion.
Hydrogen has huge potential to reduce Australia’s carbon footprint because its only by-product is water. At present, the largest obstacle is the energy required to generate hydrogen power in the first place.
Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen believes a booming hydrogen industry could create $50 billion in additional GDP and more than 16,000 jobs in regional Australia.
“The world’s climate emergency is Australia’s jobs opportunity, and the Albanese Government is moving quickly to make sure we seize that opportunity in green hydrogen,” Bowen said.
Renewables on track
After declaring it will Rewire the Nation in an ambitious $20 billion program, the Federal Government has allocated $12 billion of those dollars in the recent Budget.
These funds will go towards renewable energy transmission upgrades, putting the country on track for an 82% renewable grid by 2030.
The $12 billion included $1 billion in Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation projects; $1.5 billion towards Renewable Energy Zones and offshore wind in Victoria; and $4.7 billion towards critical transmission infrastructure in New South Wales.
Fossil fuel fears
In line with historic partnerships, Australia continued to fund fossil fuel companies with roughly $41 billion in subsidies like the Fuel Tax Credit.
This figure is far more than all of the Government’s positive environmental initiatives combined. This does not make sense.
WolfPeak is passionate about uplifting both the environment and the economy and we understand the need for a transition to more sustainable power sources and that this cannot happen overnight but subsidising fossil fuel is not part of the solution. We will continue to make our position clear to Government and the private entities we work with to help drive this transition, reducing everyone’s environmental cost of work while helping businesses to maximise returns from each project.
Gas has to go
While we understand the need to balance the transition away from fossil fuels, in a measured wind-down, we cannot understand the need to invest $6.7 million in a Future Gas Strategy.
International advice and case studies have found that natural gas isn’t quite as “clean” as once thought, as the leak in methane that occurs at extraction can be even more harmful than burning coal or oil.
The Budget has backed its Future Gas Strategy as an investment in the transition to renewable energy systems, but only time will tell if this is the most responsible path.
As a leading environmental consultancy, WolfPeak is trusted to deliver expert advice on responsible practices and pathways to compliance.
If you need to balance the performance of your bottom line and your impact on the environment, allow WolfPeak to assess the situation.
For more information on how the Federal Budget will impact your business, get in touch today.