Wednesday, 11 September 2019
Matters of Public Importance
I rise in this place to reject the ridiculous statements made by the crossbench that we don't care. We care $3.5 billion. Australia is pulling its weight in emissions reduction and keeping in line with its international obligations in combatting the effects of climate change. This is not something that other nations on this globe are necessarily doing. Everyone in this House cares about our future. We can all agree we want a sustainable future for those who come after us. We are setting targets and we are meeting targets. We are delivering, and we'll continue to deliver, on emissions reduction. Our per capita emissions continue to fall. Our total emissions have gone up 0.9 per cent, but that is because we are exporting natural gas to other countries, which provides them with cleaner energy than the coal they're using at the moment.
As I highlighted in my maiden speech, climate change is real and affects us all. There is now a major and inevitable transition occurring in our energy sector to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future. As we can all agree, it is not just an environmental imperative to act; it is an economic one. We need to be open to new possibilities in reducing emissions, to hasten that future by using our Australian pragmatism to lead the world in sustainable energy. I believe that the Australian public is now ready for a mature conversation on new technologies. As a scientist, I know we have a wealth of opportunities and we need to diversify our energy base. We need to look at hydrogen, and I believe we need to look at alternative carbon-emission-neutral energy sources such as nuclear. This will only move forward with bipartisan support.
If we are to work to reverse the effects of climate change on our planet, we must think globally but act locally. Even in my own electorate of Higgins, there are businesses working on innovative solutions to combat emissions and drive down electricity prices. In a recent visit to Higgins, energy minister Angus Taylor and I met with Richard McIndoe, the CEO of Edge Electrons. Richard was previously the CEO of Energy Australia. He is now fighting to reduce emissions. Edge has designed technology for businesses and homes that will reduce the power draw from the grid. This ensures that home appliances can run at lower voltage, thereby saving power, reducing power prices and helping Australians lower our emissions. This is an incredibly exciting business. We also met with CarbonTRACK, who've developed an app that will track the energy use of machines within the home, such as dishwashers, washing machines and televisions, and advise the best time to use them to ensure power efficiency. These are just some of the examples of what is happening in small businesses across Australia and is being supported by the Morrison government.
Businesses can thrive and innovate when our economy is strong. When we have a strong economy we can get on with the job of investing in renewables and assisting businesses to do the same. We have unleashed a free market investment that is driving down costs of renewables as more innovative technologies come online. We are seeing record levels of renewable investment—in fact, double per capita when compared to similar countries, as the minister said just recently. And when we have a strong investment in a market, it will drive down prices, making renewable and energy-saving products available for every Australian. It helps to innovate businesses if they know they have a market.
For the member for Mayo to suggest we don't have a plan to deal with emissions reduction is just wrong. I direct her to our $3.5 billion dollar Climate Solutions Package to meet our Paris targets.