The regulator's share of the pie includes:
- $67 million to "transform" waste management;
- $6.2 million to bolster the government's response to the Williamtown Royal Australian Air Force Base contamination;
- $2.8 million to introduce a container deposit scheme; and
- $2.4 million ($10.1 million over five years) to help the EPA address lead contamination in Broken Hill.
This includes $15 million for energy efficiency programs for households, $6 million for energy efficiency programs for business. more than $9 million for National Energy Market regulation, $2 million for state-wide gas efficiency programs, and $1.4 million towards renewable energy programs.
Councils will also be supported in their quest to develop and implement coastal and floodplain management plans and to restore and protect the state's coastline and estuaries through funding amounting to $31 million.
Other budget highlights include:
- $240 million over five years, with up to $15 million in 2016-17 to facilitate biodiversity conservation on private land;
- $16 million in 2016-17 ($100 million over five years to 2020-21) to protect threatened species;
- $40 million to manage fire risks in national parks;
- $3.7 million in Royal Coast Track upgrades over the next 12 months;
- More than $287 million for the state's public parklands, zoos and gardens; and
- $100 million to the Environmental Trust to increase opportunities for the community, industry, and agencies to protect the environment through restoration, research, education, and support programs.
'The forward estimates include the government's commitment to a $240 million investment in private land conservation over five years to help farmers protect and restore high value biodiversity."
The Greens however, begged to differ, pointing to budget cuts to "frontline environmental areas" including the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Regional Operations and Heritage.
The Greens also said budget figures indicated $27.5 million had been cut from Regional Operations and Heritage, which includes water and energy efficiency, native vegetation, biodiversity, environmental protection, compliance and enforcement and coastal management and a further $4.4 million had been cut from the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
“It appears that the government is cutting over $30 million dollars from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and from Regional Operations. Most of these cuts appear directed at frontline services like native vegetation management, biodiversity protection and fire hazard reduction," Greens NSW MP and environment spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi said.
“This latest budget cuts comes on top of the $20 million taken away in last year’s budget. This government is slowly but surely eroding environmental protections in this state. These cuts are short sighted and will have a huge impact of the ability of environment workers to do their jobs and to protect the environment.
“The NSW Treasurer is talking about a record spend in environment but perversely, we know a big part of that money is to enact the so called biodiversity law reforms that will have a devastating effect on the environment and facilitate land clearing."
While Dr Faruqi acknowledged that there were increases for a few govermment agencies, she said the backbone of the environmental protection system in NSW was protected land under the National Parks and Wildlife System.
"It is unacceptable to see them cut back,” she concluded.