May 12, 2006

Federal Budget Fails Our Heritage

Federal Budget Fails Our Heritage

MEDIA RELEASE – ANTHONY ALBANESE MP

12 May 2006

Australia’s leading heritage protection agency, the National Trust, has slammed the Federal Budget for its “woefully inadequate” support for our heritage, with less than 2% of the total environment budget spent on the care of Australia’s heritage places.

The National Trust’s criticism is further proof the Howard Government treats our heritage with contempt.

Respect for our heritage is the foundation stone for nation building. Tragically, the foundation stone is crumbling.

The Howard Government has turned a blind eye as climate change threatens to devastate our unique natural heritage.

The Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu and the Wet Tropics Rainforests are all threatened by climate change, but there was not one single new initiative in the Federal Budget to tackle climate change or support clean energy. Instead, 50 staff are being cut from climate programs in the Environment portfolio.

Only one of Australia’s 16 World Heritage sites are on the National Heritage List. It is extraordinary that the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, Fraser Island and Shark Bay aren’t protected through the National Heritage List.

The Howard Government has failed to support Western Australia’s push for World Heritage listing for the magnificent Ningaloo Reef. Labor supports World Heritage listing for the Reef.

The Howard Government should be building our future whilst respecting our past. Instead, it has mortgaged our future and neglected our heritage.

We need a Government with the foresight to deal with climate change now, so that great Australian icons like the Great Barrier Reef and Kakadu are still there for future generations.