Waste and resource recovery package
The State Government announced $964.2 million in additional funding over five years as part of its 10-year $2.1 billion waste and resource recovery package. The funding package comprises:
- $672.4 million in 2021–22 included for payments to local governments to assist with reducing the direct cost of the existing waste levy on households over the next four years
- $291.8 million to assist with the implementation of waste management plans and expansion of existing resource recovery programs, to be delivered over the next four years
The announcement forms an important part of the State Government's Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy, released in 2019, which aims to meet ambitious resource recovery targets including 80% waste diversion from landfill (recovery rate as a percentage of total waste generated) and 65% recycling rates (as a percentage of total waste generated) across all waste types.
Expansion of protected areas
A funding package of $262.5 million has been committed for the expansion and cultivation of national parks in Queensland, as well as the continuation of Queensland's Protected Area Strategy 2020-2030. The funding comprises of:
- $250 million over four years as a capital component held centrally for land acquisition and capital works; and
- $12.5 million over four years in increased funding and $3.1 million ongoing to support the acquisition of land in the protected area estate.
As announced earlier this month, a package of around $40 million has been committed to extend and accelerate implementation of the South East Queensland Koala Conservation Strategy 2020-2025 and threatened species in Queensland, including:
- $24.6 million over four years and $1 million per annum ongoing has been committed to extend and accelerate implementation of the Strategy and increase the commitment to the South East Queensland Wildlife Hospital Network enabling the rescue, treatment, care and rehabilitation of sick, injured and orphaned koalas; and
- $14.7 million over four years and $1 million per annum ongoing to support Queensland’s Threatened Species Program to enhance the protection and conservation of species most at risk of extinction, including 1026 species (243 animals and 783 plants) listed as threatened under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Qld).
There is an $68.5 million package over five years to assist with implementation of the Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan (QRIDP), which was tabled in Parliament on 24 June 2022, and contains the State's long-term vision of its resource industry. Relevantly for environment and sustainable development stakeholders, much of the funding relates to new economy minerals (also referred to as critical minerals) such as bauxite/alumina, silica, cadmium and rare earth elements, that can be used for advanced technological uses in renewable energy such as solar and wind technology, medical imaging, electric vehicles, and other low-emission power sources. The funding includes:
- $17.5 million over four years for the Collaborative Exploration Initiative to assist resource;
- exploration companies in the discovery of new economy minerals;
- $10 million over two years for airborne and ground-based geophysical surveys;
- $5 million over two years for research into new economy minerals in the State;
- As announced earlier this month, $5.7 million over three years to expand Mackay's Resources Centre of Excellence; and
- $1.6 million to streamline the assessment of applications to mine and explore.
Coal royalty increase
Industry will now be aware that the State's 10-year coal royalty freeze will come to an end on 1 July, with three new progressively royalty tiers to be introduced in addition to the existing royalties:
- 20% for prices above $175 per tonne;
- 30% for prices above $225 per tonne; and
- 40% for prices above $300 per tonne.
The State Government forecast the amended royalty arrangement to deliver an additional $1.2 billion in royalties over the forward estimates. These new royalty tiers apply progressively to the margin of the coal price, like income tax.
Protection of Cape York First Nations areas of cultural, natural significance
As announced earlier this month, there is a $38.5 million package extension of the Cape York Tenure Resolution Program which returns ownership and management of land to traditional owners. The funding includes $18.5 million over four years and $1.2 million per annum ongoing, as well as an earmarked $20 million in 2024-25 to further assist the acquisition of land.
Other budget measures we have identified as relevant to environment and sustainable development stakeholders include:
- $32.6 million over four years and $4.8 million per annum ongoing in increased funding to develop climate science capability and "community-focused climate action" that the budget says will support climate action program policy, planning and management, including emissions analysis, modelling and projections;
- $6.9 million over four years and $1.8 million per annum ongoing in increased funding to further expand carbon farming and continue the Land Restoration Fund Project Management Office; and
- $6 million over four years and $1.5 million per annum ongoing in increased funding to continue the Community Sustainability Action Grant program to provide community, environmental and heritage grants across the State.