May 11, 2006

Cuts to climate staff and programs are short-sighted

Cuts to climate staff and programs are short-sighted


11 May 2006

Given climate change is such a serious problem for Australia, the decision in the Budget to cut the very staff we need to detect and analyse climate change is extraordinary.

The Treasurer mentioned drought and extreme weather, such as cyclone Larry, but for the 11th Budget in a row did not mention climate change.

Climate change is a serious economic and environmental problem, yet 50 staff are being cut from climate programs in the Environment portfolio.

Labor is very concerned that 37 staff may be cut from climate science and climate community education programs at the Department of Environment.

Another 13 staff are being cut at the Bureau of Meteorology, apparently long range climate forecasters.

Since the last election, the Howard Government has cut 71 staff at the Bureau and has slashed the CSIRO’s climate change program by one-third.

Climate change is not only being ignored by the Howard Government, it has now shot the messenger.

If the Budget was truly about Australia’s future, there would have been funding to help Australia limit and adapt to climate change.

Climate change is making Australia hotter, directly threatens every city and town’s water supply and the Great Barrier Reef and Kakadu. Climate change means we’ll have more category 4 and 5 cyclones.

If climate change is unchecked it will severely damage Australia’s agricultural and tourism industries, while also affecting many Australians with more severe weather events and further water restrictions.

Ignoring climate change in the Budget and cutting climate research staff is an expensive mistake – one our children will probably have to pay for.