The Albanese Labor Government will invest an extra $262.3 million in the 2023-24 Budget to address the chronic underfunding of Australia’s iconic national parks.
After a decade of mismanagement and neglect by the Liberals and Nationals, our national parks have been left with broken infrastructure, out-of-date equipment, and inadequate facilities.
Programs to protect threatened species and eradicate invasive species have been woefully underfunded. This puts at risk the safety of staff and visitors, and compromises the ability to protect some of our most precious places, and the plants and animals that call them home.
These natural treasures should be a source of national pride, but instead they are falling apart. At Kakadu, the Jim Jim Rangers station roof is peeling off and there are broken or missing crocodile warning signs in the park. At Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, roofing is falling apart on shelters designed to provide shade and protection from the harsh desert heat, and housing for staff is inadequate.
Shockingly, two of Australia’s most recent extinctions happened in our national parks.
This is yet another example of the former Liberal and National Government’s underhanded approach to budgeting that Labor has been left to fix. The Albanese Labor Government is cleaning up the mess left behind by the previous Government and providing the necessary funding for the services that Australians rely on.
The Government’s investment will address critical infrastructure needs, including updating unsafe equipment, fixing inadequate signage, providing essential ranger housing, and refurbishing rundown facilities like the Kakadu Aboriginal Cultural Centre. It will boost conservation activities and cultural heritage management.
And it will support important programs like the new National Seed Bank at the Australian National Botanic Gardens.
This investment will create 110 new jobs including new roles for Traditional Owners to work on Country and new positions to ensure safety and deliver major projects.
This is another example of addressing the legacy of cruel neglect left by the previous government. In 2019 the Liberals and Nationals promised $276 million for Kakadu but delivered just $17 million.
Since coming to Government, Labor has more than tripled what the Liberals and Nationals delivered. This new investment over four years is in addition to existing funding.
The Commonwealth’s national parks include Booderee National Park and the World Heritage-listed Kakadu and Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Parks, the Australian National Botanic Gardens, and a network of 60 Australian Marine Parks.
The Albanese Labor Government is stepping in to undo the damage caused by the Liberals and Nationals. We want to better protect our precious places and better support those who manage them, so they can be enjoyed for generations to come.