Nature the winner in City's $1.8 billion budget

Published on 23 June 2021

City skyline view from the hinterland

Our natural environment is again a big winner in the annual City Budget.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate today announced the 2021-22 budget would include a $161 million investment in parks, natural areas and environmental conservation.

Of this, $145,293,000 will be invested in parks, natural areas and recreation with a further $14,447,230 specific for environmental conservation.

“This is almost 10 percent of our total City budget. We will always ensure there are funds to improve our natural environment and protect the green and open space that makes our city unique.’’

Key initiatives for 2021-22 include:

o $11 million to commence a program of acquiring up to 40 priority acquisition sites (totalling 3515 hectares) across the city to ensure better wildlife corridor linkages (the first seven sites will be targeted in 2021-22)

o $7.9 million to manage over 13,000 hectares of bushland across the city

o $2.47 million to maintain bushfire management including hazard reduction burns, fire management planning, fire breaks, fire trail construction and vegetation management

o $200,850 to develop a priority species program and support implementation of the Koala Conservation Plan

o $150,400 toward developing collaborative monitoring and reporting arrangements on the health, quality and protection of our City’s natural assets to deliver State of the Environment-type reporting; and

o $111,900 to implement the environmental offset program to provide for the ongoing protection of native vegetation.

“The $11 million investment on wildlife corridors has been identified through our Natural Areas Acquisition Program. Ratepayers will pay an additional $2.50 each (into the Open Space including Koala Habitat, Maintenance and Enhancement Separate Charge) to support the land purchases. This charge is on top of the existing $1 per annum koala habitat program, introduced in 2018.’’

Mayor Tate said the 220-hectare Greenheart project at Robina/Merrimac would continue.

“We need this open space to meet our State targets for natural areas. When finished, it will be six times the size of Broadwater Parklands and will give residents in the west of our city the opportunity to enjoy a unique wetlands experience, as well as providing more sports and recreational space.’’

The 2021-22 budget has allocated $12m towards the continuation of Robina City Parklands, the first stage of the broader Greenheart project.

Full budget details at: www.cityofgoldcoast.com.au/annualplan