Cuts to botanic gardens means less access, less science and more pressure to pay

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The Baird Government cuts to the Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust in the NSW budget will put more pressure on the Gardens to raise funds through private sources, reduce public access and increase commercial activity.

The 2015/2016 budget will implement a cut to the Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust budget of:

  • $400,000 out of the science and public programs
  • $900,000 from park management

The latest cut includes 16 full time equivalent (FTE) positions by the end of 2015/2016 – bringing the number of positions that the Baird Government has cut since it came to office to 60, or one in five.

This new attack on the Botanic Gardens comes off the back of sustained cuts, commercialisation and loss of scientific expertise at this important institution including:

  • Recent tenders seeking to introduce $400 VIP ticketed events for New Year’s Eve, in a blatant cash grab that will lock families out of the Gardens.
  • An attempt to alienate green space and put hotels and other commercial activity infrastructure into the Gardens
  • The loss of world renowned botanist Professor David Mabberley, and other scientific staff
  • A reduction of one third in the number of scientific papers produced each year to 110, down from 165

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe

“Mike Baird has never met a public space he is not willing to commercialise.”

“Established in 1816, the Royal Botanic Gardens is Australia’s oldest scientific institution. It was a gift from our founding Governors for future generations.”

“The Baird Government thinks the Botanic Gardens are simply a way to earn a buck and to balance the budget.”

“Cutting one in five staff, cutting science programs and cutting park management will force the Gardens to go down a more commercial route that will limit public access to the gardens.”

“When will Mike Baird say no to this rampant approach to our precious public green spaces?”

“For the Botanic Gardens at Mount Annan in Camden and Campbelltown as well as Mount Tomah in the Blue Mountains these cuts will limit the ability of these Gardens to continue to grow and attract visitors to these important places in Western Sydney.”