WWF-Australia has welcomed environment funding, announced by the Coalition, focused on issues including plastics and threatened species.
On plastics, the positives included a $100 million loan facility to support the manufacture of products from recycled material including plastic, $20 million for plastic recycling research, and $16 million to help reduce plastic pollution from our Pacific neighbours.
“This funding is welcome. The Coalition must now strengthen its stand on plastics by legislating to phase out the worst single-use plastics,” said WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman.
“Both the Greens and Labor have made firm regulatory commitments to phase out selected single-use plastics.
“This is a critical and necessary step forward and we urge the Coalition to do the same,” he said.
WWF-Australia said a funding boost for hospitals treating koalas in South East Queensland and northern New South Wales would help overstretched staff trying to save injured wildlife.
“Koalas and other threatened species are heading towards extinction with habitat destruction one of the main causes. Hospitals can’t remedy that. Stronger protection of forests is critical,” Mr O’Gorman said.
“Threatened species also need properly resourced recovery plans that are put into action.
“WWF is concerned that environment budgets and protections have been slashed, greenhouse gas emissions have increased, putting the Reef and Wet Tropics at risk, and environmental laws are ineffective,” Mr O’Gorman said.
To ensure that Australia’s wildlife and oceans are adequately protected for future generations, WWF would expect that any incoming environmental policy commitment would at a minimum commit to swift and appropriate action to address Australia’s contribution to global warming, introduce regulatory interventions to alleviate the sheer mass of single-use plastics polluting our natural landscapes as well as ensuring:
• 100% of Australia’s threatened species having time-bound, fully-costed species recovery plans;
• A National zero net deforestation commitment;
• The establishment of an independent environmental body to provide greater oversight and protection; and
• An increase in Working on Country rangers to 2,000 (with gender equality achieved by 2022) and the establishment of ranger groups in urban and regional centres.