Page 2268 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 August 2022
conservation, we certainly see this government and the budget priorities have more than a tinge of green in them, with investment growing from 36 per cent in 2019-20 to 49 per cent in 2022-23.
Ms Clay correctly mentioned that in last year’s budget I delivered long term funding for our catchment management groups, Landcare, ParkCare, frogcare, and ACT Wildlife.
I was really pleased to also provide a significant boost of the amount of funding for environmental grants, increasing their total value by one third. The first funding increase for 15 years. Last year’s budget also saw an additional $3 million over four years for invasive species management. One of the biggest threats—
MADAM SPEAKER: Time has expired Ms Vassarotti. Do you have a supplementary Ms Clay?
MS CLAY: Minister, what tools are we missing to make sure we are making systemic decisions to protect our environment?
MS VASSAROTTI: Thank you very much for the question. I think it is a really important one when we look at environment. Quite often when we think about environment, we are really focused on looking at a specific threatened species or specific piece of threatened or remanent grasslands, so it is really important that we do take a systemic approach.
One of the key tools I am really pleased to overseen the development of as Minister, is the mapping of connectivity of our natural eco-systems and critical habitat across the ACT. This mapping is a vital tool to inform land-use decisions in the future and to make sure that it is integrated into the new planning system. It is going to show us not only what we have and what we must protect. It will also show where the gaps are and what we need to do to ensure that our natural environment is connected and the plants and animals can flourish in their natural ranges. This mapping has informed the identification of the 20 sites we will now look to restore and celebrate across the city that was part of the budget announcement yesterday.
Another key tool is obviously the power of citizen science. We are deeply blessed with many people who have the passion and knowledge to help the government to identify key habitat and the location of our wildlife and important plants. In this budget, we are investing in an enhancement of the Canberra nature map so that we can better harness the power and the value of citizen science observations into our understanding of where our most important natural areas are.
MR DAVIS: Thank you Madam Speaker. Minister, what work do you believe the government must do next to ensure that all of our budget decisions and all of our policy decisions take into account the protection of our environment?
MS VASSAROTTI: Thank you very much for the question. As the Chief Minister mentioned in answer to a question earlier today, I think the wellbeing framework is an important new tool. While it is new, it is showing it has promise to better inform our budget decisions. The Greens have long championed the concept of a wellbeing