WA shores up spending on low-carbon future with $652m to tackle climate change

WA shores up spending on low-carbon future with $652m to tackle climate change

Perth CBD, photo courtesy of Joshua Leong (Unsplash).

After delivering a state surplus of $5.7 billion, the West Australian government yesterday announced a $652 million investment in tackling climate change and protecting the environment as part of its 2022-23 State Budget.

Delivering his second budget as WA Treasurer, Premier Mark McGowan confirmed that $500 million of the overall investment would go towards the Climate Action Fund – unveiled as part of last year’s budget to secure the State's carbon future.

The remaining $152 million will be spent on accelerating the use of electric and hydrogen vehicles, upgrading Rottnest Island's renewable energy resources, and assisting the state in reducing carbon emissions.

"Our strong budget management gives us the capacity to deliver more funding to support new and exciting initiatives that will protect our environment,” said WA Premier and Treasurer Mark McGowan after delivering a budget that he said would make other states “green with envy”.

"The additional $500 million in this Budget takes the total in our Climate Action Fund to $1.25 billion, and will be used to invest in sustainable WA jobs and industry innovation.

"On top of this, we're also committing almost $60 million to accelerate the use of zero-emission vehicles, which will see Western Australians benefit with $3,500 grants for the purchase of these vehicles and upgraded EV infrastructure across the State.”

The Climate Action Fund, which received an initial $750 million in last year’s budget, will help support the state’s transition to net-zero by 2050.

As part of this investment, $30 million has been allocated to the Just Transition Plan to create a new program to assist regional communities in transitioning to new industries when native forest logging ends in 2024.

"As a Government, we have an ambitious environmental agenda centred on reducing carbon emissions and enhancing protection for our unique natural environment,” WA Climate Action Minister Reece Whitby said.

"We know we are an energy intensive State, and we know that this is the time we need to act on climate change. This funding shows that we are committed to a low-carbon future for Western Australia.

"It will enable government and industry to accelerate the electrification of our transport and energy systems, support innovative solutions to stabilising our climate and put the State on a meaningful path to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050."

Of the remaining $152 million not allocated to the Climate Action Fund, almost $60 million will be used to establish a Clean Energy Car Fund, which will provide 10,000 rebates of $3,500 to Western Australians that buy a new electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle up to a value of $70,000.

As part of the $59.3 million Clean Energy Car Fund, $22.6 million will be invested in new charging infrastructure to expand WA's electric vehicle charging network.

A further $10 million has been allocated for not-for-profits and small and medium businesses to receive grants of up to 50 per cent for installing charging infrastructure. The Public Transport Authority will receive $4 million of the fund, and $2.9 million of the pot will go towards the instalment of four charging stations along a section of the National Highway One.

The State Budget also includes a $62 million commitment to see renewables power 75 per cent of Rottnest Island's energy needs and upgrade water assets to enhance the holiday destination's infrastructure and support expanded growth.

The remaining $31 million of the overall investment will be allocated for climate action research, which includes funding to develop and implement strategies to reduce emissions and transition the agriculture, freight and regional heavy transport industries to net-zero.

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