Deafening silence in the election campaign
Marc Hudson writes in The Conversation (23.6.16):
‘There’s a deafening silence in the ongoing Australian election campaign over the environment. Polling shows increasing public support for greater action on climate change but debate has been mostly missing. And despite some blows traded over the Great Barrier Reef, the wider environment has made almost no appearance.
‘But this hasn’t always been the case. From the origins of the environmental movement in the 1970s to the 2007 climate change election that toppled Liberal prime minister John Howard, the environment has been a key battleground, and it could become one again.’
Parties’ policies on saving the Great Barrier Reef
Jon Brodie analyses in The Conversation the parties’ competing policies on saving the Great Barrier Reef, and concludes:
‘Without stronger regulation (which only the Greens are suggesting) and considerably more funding than any of the main parties is yet willing to provide – not to mention stronger action on emissions reductions throughout the economy – none of these policies promises a particularly rosy future for the Great Barrier Reef.’
Australia’s climate policy timeline since 2013
Annabelle Workman and Anita Talberg set out Australia’s climate policy timeline since 2013 in The Conversation (23.6.16).
‘With the Australian federal election just over a week away, it’s a good time to review the key milestones in Australian climate policy since the last federal election in September 2013.
Queensland coup – $7million purchase of Springvale Station to help save the Reef
Queensland Environment Minister Stephen Miles, who campaigned under the slogan ‘Miles better for the Reef’, has achieved a great coup in pursuading the State government to purchase the 56,000 hectare Springvale Station, one of the biggest contributors of sediment run-off affecting the Great Barrier Reef.
‘The South Endeavour Trust, which owns and manages 10 conservation reserves, including one bordering the Springvale property, backed the purchase.
‘Trust director, Tim Hughes said buying back the farm was “something new, bold and really meaningful to protect the Great Barrier Reef”.
“When this property came onto the market, I really hoped Dr Miles and the Government would have the vision to see that something different could be done, which would make a real difference for the reef,” he said.’
And a good news story
The Conversation (22.6.16) carries a report by David Lindenmayer, Chloe Sato, Dan Florance and Emma Burns on an agri-environment program:
‘You probably haven’t heard of the Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP). It was a market-based agri-environment program that ran between 2007 and 2012, which funded farmers to conserve threatened ecosystems on their property. Land managers were given contracts for up to 15 years to deliver results.
‘Overall, 297 land managers will receive about A$152 million over roughly 18 years to implement their conservation management plans. …
‘Billions of dollars are expended on the environment in Australia every year. Landscape recovery will span multiple governmental cycles and every dollar must be spent wisely. Programs like ESP give some guidance on how large-scale environmental programs can be more successful.’