Jenny Leong MP asks the Premier about underspending on Climate Change

Jenny Leong MP, Member for Newtown asked the Premier to explain why for the third year in a row the New South Wales Government has under-spent the Climate Change Fund.


Ms JENNY LEONG (Newtown) (15:24): My question is to the Premier. Given that climate change is a pressing issue for our State, and the Treasurer failed to mention it in the Budget Speech, can the Premier explain why for the third year in a row the New South Wales Government has underspent the Climate Change Fund?

Ms GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN (WilloughbyPremier) (15:24): I thank the member for Newtown for her question and I note her ongoing commitment to climate change and environmental issues. At least the member for Newtown is consistent on where she stands on these issues, whereas those opposite never mention climate change unless it is going to get them a headline. I am incredibly proud of the Government's record in dealing with climate change and environmental issues. I can advise the member for Newtown that in due course the Government will be making further announcements about the Climate Change Fund. We are yet to announce a number of exciting initiatives about this in the community, but I take this opportunity to restate some of the really great announcements that we have made in recent times.

Our NSW Koala Strategy was a first for New South Wales. Never before has this State had a strategy to protect our koalas. So those who are fearful about the future of our koala population can now rest assured that this government is ensuring their protection. I was concerned to learn that in the last half century alone 25 per cent of our koala population has been decimated in this State. The Forestry Corporation of New South Wales has returned land to preserve koala habitats, a koala sanctuary has been provided at Port Stephens and Taronga Zoo has been given further resources to undertake more research. That is just one example of a recent decision we have made in relation to the environment. I am also proud of the overarching climate change and environmental features in our planning documents.

The Minister for Planning is to be commended because for the first time in the history of this State we will be creating a new green canopy for Greater Sydney. Over the next decades five million trees will be planted in New South Wales. In addition, we appreciate the importance of duplicating—in some cases quadruplicating or multiplying by eight times—the number of trees removed during major infrastructure projects and we also have a huge commitment to tree canopies. In New South Wales we have the largest renewable projects in Australia—whether from solar or other renewable energy sources. This Government has also released tenders on solar panels for government buildings. At every opportunity we are promoting and supporting action on climate change.

Ms Jenny Leong: Point of order: My question specifically asked why the Government has underspent the Climate Change Fund.

The SPEAKER: Order! The Premier is being relevant to the question. I am sure she will turn to the budget shortly.

Ms GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN: Contrary to what has been alleged about this year's budget, the Treasurer mentioned in the Budget Speech that for the first time we will be issuing green bonds through social impact investment to incentivise people to invest in environmental initiatives in New South Wales. The Government is making decisions to support the environment. It is also encouraging the private sector to invest in our initiatives. Finally, the member for Newtown can rest assured that the Government will have more positive things to say about the Climate Change Fund. I repeat: I am incredibly proud of what we have announced to date and there is more to come.

Sign up for updates