While NSW experiences climate disruption and the third consecutive year of record or near-record global temperatures, the NSW Government has underspent on climate change funding for a third year in a row.
The 2016-17 Climate Change Fund Annual Report released in November 2017 reveals:
- Investment in NSW climate change fund priorities is down to $148.9 million in 2016-17 from $243.4 million in 2015-16, mainly due to the end of the Solar Bonus Fund on 31 December 2016.
- The underspend on priority climate change programs was $129 million in 2016-17 -- nearly equivalent to the entire investment of the Fund in the priority areas ($148.9).
- The total underspend on climate action from 2014-17, three years of record and near-record global temperatures was $252.9 million -- close to the total revenue of the fund this past year.
Greens MP and Treasury spokesperson Justin Field said the recent Summer heatwaves are what our future feels like if Governments continue to short-change investment in climate action, including renewable energy, in NSW.
“The NSW Government is putting the community at risk by underspending on climate action by a massive $252.9 million during a year of near-record global temperatures and when the state is feeling climate disruption through heat waves and flooding,” he said.
“We’re living with climate disruption now, every day the NSW Government delays or under invests in action causes risk to people, communities and our environment.
“The money is there and has been allocated, they just aren’t spending it and there has never been a more critical time to take action to reduce emissions.
“The community has been short-changed by cuts to the popular and effective feed-in bonus on rooftop solar and the Renewable Energy Action Plan, and the delay in finalising the state’s Climate Action Plans.
“NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin told communities on the Central Coast and in Sydney’s outer suburbs that blackouts were ‘par for the course’ during heatwaves, but he won’t own up to the role inaction by his government has played in holding back renewable energy and making communities more climate resilient.
“The Greens are calling on the Government to unlock these funds and fast-track investment in renewable energy, supporting households and businesses to make the transition and reducing the state’s reliance on coal and gas.
“The transfer of the Snowy Hydro scheme to federal Government control presents an opportunity to top up the existing Climate Change Fund with as much as $3.5 billion and direct this money to urgent climate action,” Mr Field said.
Background: NSW Climate Change Fund Annual Reports
2016-17. Released November 2017
2015-16. Released September 2016
2014-15. Released November 2015