Budget boosts cash for climate infrastructure
The federal government is pouring money into projects that will literally hold back the tide as the climate changes, while boosting support for disaster victims.
The 2023/24 budget has set aside $200 million under the Disaster Ready Fund to shore up flood levees and seawalls, and for programs that will reduce the nation's bushfire risks.
Meanwhile, there's almost $232 million in extra cash for Services Australia, the agency that responds when Australians get caught up in floods, fires, cyclones and other disasters.
It helped Australians get through nine natural disasters last year alone, paying out $1.4 billion in emergency assistance.
"This investment has never been more important, with Australians facing increasing and unrelenting emergencies as a result of climate change," Government Services Minister Bill Shorten said.
Australia is also about to get its very first national climate risk assessment and national adaptation plan - decades after the nation began acting on the global threat.
The budget has set aside $28 million over two years to produce the documents, saying a full understanding of the risks will aid adaptation strategies.
And there's an extra $21.8 million over 3 years to ensure Australia is delivering high-quality emissions data, and tracking progress against emissions reduction targets.
Meanwhile the government is making a start on priority reforms for the nation's carbon credit scheme, after whistleblower claims it was a fraud that delivered no real outcomes for the environment.
The budget sets aside $18 million over two years for priority reforms flowing from a subsequent review.
It includes $3.5 million to set up a carbon abatement integrity committee, and the department, not the Clean Energy Regulator, will decide what methods can be used to generate carbon credits.