Byron Bay has been significantly impacted during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Byron Bay has been significantly impacted during the Covid-19 pandemic.

COMMENT: Growing back with a conservation stimulus

The coronavirus pandemic has affected the world and our community in ways that we could never have foreseen.

We don’t know exactly what the world will look like on the other side of the crisis but what is clear is that the financial fallout will be felt for a long time.

For regional communities the economic impact of the shutdown will be worse – that much is certain.

Regional areas like ours are likely to emerge slowest from the economic effects of Covid-19.

It is not as though regional communities in NSW were feeling buoyant before the pandemic.

Most were badly affected by the five year drought and many were decimated by the worst bushfire season in living memory.

As well as the huge economic impact of these extreme weather events we know that there has been a huge impact on the environment and that there is very little government spending to redress it on the horizon.

We have a chance to turn things around for biodiversity and the quality of our food growing land and we can slow down the warming of the planet in the process.

We need a Conservation Stimulus Package for regional NSW to deliver the multiple benefits of employment, conservation, future proofing our agricultural sector and reducing carbon emissions.

For every dollar of investment we know there are exponential outcomes that keep benefiting communities into the future.

But it will take boldness on the part of government and we know that the default snap-back mentality will be a return to a belief in trickledown economics.

The pandemic proved that wealth does not trickle down to the masses without governments leaning in to temper the inequities of modern capitalism.

In a post-Covid world, a green, conservation-focused stimulus package for New South Wales could provide countless benefits to the environment and to the economy as well as employment and business opportunities.