Environment, Heritage and the Arts 2010-11

Budget measures
Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
12 May 2010

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Minister's introduction

The 2010 Budget sees the government continue to invest wisely and strategically in our natural environment as well as in our arts, culture and heritage.

Environment

This year, the International Year of Biodiversity, is a timely reminder of how much we rely on the health and resilience of our unique natural environment.

Our biodiversity—our web of life—is our store of natural capital.

It provides the clean air we breathe, the fresh water we drink, the variety of foods and fibres that we consume, and our artistic and spiritual inspiration.

Protecting our natural capital is vital if we are to grow our economy, particularly as we adapt to climate change and a future with less water.

All sound policy must be evidence-based. For too long, our environmental protection and planning has relied on limited and, at times, fragmented data. This Budget commits $18.0 million over four years to a National Plan for Environmental Information as the first step in the establishment of a world first set of national environment accounts. This will ensure we are collecting and using knowledge to make sound environmental decisions that will benefit all Australians.

That information will be used to protect not only our terrestrial ecosystems, but also our precious marine biodiversity and heritage. The Budget commits to further funding of $8.1 million to finalise planning and the initial implementation of marine bioregional plans around Australia, striking the right balance between human use of our oceans and the protection of their biodiversity.

We continue to invest in protection of the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, with $12.0 million over two years to support the work of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

On land and at sea, continued funding for Indigenous rangers across the nation will boost rural and regional communities, creating jobs and traineeships at the same time as delivering for the environment.

As Australia’s prosperity grows, so does the waste we produce. The 2010–11 Budget includes $23.0 million over five years to implement Australia’s National Waste Policy, to help us avoid the generation of waste, reduce the amount going to landfill, manage waste as a resource, and ensure that it is disposed of safely.

The policy will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy conservation, raise water efficiency and enhance arable productivity. It will also support jobs, promote investment and strengthen economic growth.

Australia’s Antarctic program has benefited hugely from the Australia-Antarctica Airlink, which will continue to provide fast and efficient transport for scientists and other expeditioners from Hobart to Casey Station with funding of $11.7 million in 2010–11.

Underpinning these and other new measures, the 2010 Budget continues to support the five-year Caring for our Country initiative that is delivering against each of its six priority areas, including dramatic increases in our national reserve system.

Arts and culture

Arts and culture are at the heart of Australian life—a claim borne out by recent research by the Australia Council. We are reading books, attending arts events, and valuing and cherishing our culture more than ever before.

The 2010 Federal Budget reflects that strong and growing commitment.

We are reinforcing our commitment to closing the gap between Indigenous and other Australians by continuing to invest in Indigenous arts and culture. Continued funding of $4.0 million over four years for the Business Skills for Visual Artists initiative will support funding for Indigenous arts centres to provide targeted professional development, business skills training and access to the commercial marketplace for Indigenous artists and arts workers, delivered through the National Arts and Crafts Industry Support program. This initiative will contribute to the development of a sustainable and ethical Indigenous arts industry and make a significant contribution towards maintaining Indigenous culture.

We have increased funding in 2010–11 for the Contemporary Music Touring Program, to ensure that regional communities have access to new talent, and emerging musicians can help stimulate their economies.

We support our thriving cultural institutions, including the construction of an $8.8 million multi-purpose education and public programs facility for the Australian National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour, and the $7.0 million extension of the National Museum of Australia’s main building. The museum’s extension will give visitors access to much more of its large collection.

The Budget recognises the central role of the Australia Council in supporting artists across the nation, guaranteeing its funding for the next four years.

Heritage

Australians can be proud of our success in avoiding a recession through the stimulus package that included $60.0 million for heritage conservation through the Australian Government’s Jobs Fund. Not only did this investment assist in conserving our special heritage places, but the 190 projects funded generated around 2750 jobs.

Along with arts and culture, heritage places are a vital part of our communities—whether places of natural beauty, places associated with the oldest living culture, or built heritage in our towns and cities. Heritage also plays an important role in our economic prosperity, with our National and World Heritage places attracting tourists and supporting local economies.

Starting in 2010–11, the new National Historic Sites program will provide $17.7 million over four years through a competitive grants process for high priority protection and conservation activities at nationally significant historic heritage places. In this Budget, the Australian Government is also acting to preserve the memory of those Australians who have made a significant contribution to the development of Australia and its institutions.

The government is also protecting and celebrating Australia’s heritage places. The National Heritage List continues to grow, and we are approaching the 100th place to be included. Australia is committed to safeguarding its World Heritage properties and is internationally recognised for its heritage management expertise.

As an elected member of the World Heritage Committee, Australia has initiated a global process of reflection to ensure the continued vitality of the World Heritage Convention as it reaches its 40th anniversary in 2012, and is working with its Asia-Pacific neighbours to strengthen regional recognition and protection of World Heritage.

Through the Kokoda Initiative the Australian Government is assisting Papua New Guinea to protect the historically important Kokoda Track and improve the lives of communities along the track through funding of $14.9 million over four years. The Australian Government is providing an additional $3.1 million in 2010–11 to address safety issues along the track, including the complete upgrade of the Owers Corner Road to all-weather gravel, safety enhancements at the Kokoda airstrip and improvements in radio communication.

As we invest in our environment, arts and heritage, we must remember that protection of these vital assets is not just about dollars and cents. It is about better planning, about innovation, cooperation and behaviour change at every level across the nation. This Budget provides financial support to assist us all in taking responsibility for a sustainable and creative future.