From Conservation Council “Yellow Box Dispatch”, December 2015
The Legislative Assembly on 18 November discussed funding of invasive weed management in the ACT. Liberal MLA Nicole Lawder moved a motion asking for the weeds budget to be restored and the Weeds Advisory Group to be re-instated. Minister Shane Rattenbury moved an amendment basically saying weeds management had benefitted through an increase in recurrent funding base (even though overall funding has dropped by 29%) and that the Weeds Advisory Group meets twice a year. The Minister also issued a media release “Increased base funding allows for long term strategic weed management” and sent a similar message to constituents.
While the Conservation Council agrees it is important to increase base funding for weeds there should not be double-counting of offsets (which should stand alone) or short-term initiatives. Even using all the Government’s figures overall weed management funding has gone down by $653,000, nearly 30%, over the last year.
The Conservation Council prepared a working version of the Government’s spreadsheet published following June 2015 Estimates questions and we provided this to all parties prior to the Assembly debate.
The Conservation Council’s view is that there should be ongoing indexed funding for environmental weed management of just over $2 million per year plus additional funding for special projects.
We understand that a December meeting of the Weeds Advisory Group has now been convened by the Government and, along with the February 2015 meeting, there will have been two meetings this year.