Federal Budget 2023: Hits and misses

Treasurer Jim Chalmers brought down the Federal Budget on May 9. There are a number of positive intiatives in addressing climate change but also retaining fossil fuel subsidies among other negative features.

The Australian Conservation Foundation has produced an outline of what they describe as “The Good, The Bad and The Timid” of the Budget, plus this short video:

The Climate Council has produced an excellent explainer. Some of their main points:

● Action on climate change is action on cost of living, and it’s positive the federal government has acknowledged this with new investments in home electrification and energy efficiency for small businesses. These initiatives will help some Australian households and businesses permanently lower power bills while also cutting harmful carbon pollution.

● Renewable energy and clean manufacturing can power the next era of Australia’s prosperity so the government’s steps towards establishing a domestic renewable hydrogen industry are welcome. Capitalising on our natural advantage as one of the sunniest and windiest places on earth is urgent, so we need to rapidly establish new zero emission domestic and export industries to replace coal and gas in the years ahead.

● The transformation of Australia’s energy system is underway, and the establishment of a National Net Zero Authority is essential for ensuring a managed but rapid transition to cheap, clean renewable energy. Australia needs to plan for our future beyond coal and gas, and the new transition authority can play an important role in working with communities to ensure all Australians are part of our next era of prosperity, built on clean energy.

● These and other climate measures are a welcome start but action matching the scale of the climate crisis is missing from the 2023-24 Commonwealth Budget. Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie has described climate funding in this year’s Budget as ‘a warm-up lap in an ultra-marathon’, saying: “We can’t settle for a slow jog when the climate crisis calls for an extraordinary effort. Climate change is already reshaping our world, the government needs to fundamentally re-shape the Budget to tackle it.”

Other Budget Analyses:

Beyond Zero Emissions, a leading Australian think tank focussed on accelerating the shift towards a zero-emissions economy, has welcomed several measures announced in the 2023-24 Federal Budget and cautioned that Australia is still falling well short of the policies, funding and ambition required to become a “renewable energy superpower”.

To read the Australian Conservation Council’s Budget analysis, click here

To read the Australia Institute’s Budget analysis, please click here.

To read what financial analyst Tim Buckley had to say about the Budget, click here

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