Wednesday, 23 November 2022
Questions without Notice
I want to thank the member for Pearce for that question, who I know is concerned about the issue and keen to see us act. If I may, I want to reflect. I was grateful former member Hale up there was mentioned, who spent more time in the House. This may be a record for you, my friend, given we had a similarly complicated relationship with 94(a). Going to the heart of the matter, Minister Plibersek and I did release the seventh biennial State of the Climate report 2022, and it is disturbing reading, particularly the work being done by the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology to track what is happening in our climate and, importantly, how it affects our nation.
The report also provides a source of information to improve decision-making by governments, by businesses and by communities. Notably, what this report pointed out is that Australia's climate is warming at an increasing rate, with 1.47 degrees since records began over a century ago. Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are at the highest concentrations seen on earth in at least two million years, and sea surface temperatures have risen over one degree since 1900. In a nutshell, what that means is there is an increased risk of more fires, more floods and more extreme heat more often. It also is showing that our oceans are getting warmer and more acidic and snowfall, based on the trendlines since the fifties, is going the wrong way. I am informing the House as a science minister, but also in terms of raising the issues around the impacts on industry, from fisheries through to tourism. It's a big concern.
The concern is one thing. We have an ability to act, all of us, in being able to respond, and also to prepare in particular industries. There is a role to play. If you're a household that wants to use energy more efficiently, there is a role for you. If you are an industry that wants to use less energy, there is certainly a role for you. If you are in science and research and want to think of new ways to do things more efficiently, there is a job for you.
In particular, we are about to release the legislation around our National Reconstruction Fund. Contained within that is $3 million of capital that will be available for people who want to manufacture the type of technology and equipment—low-emissions technology and renewables—that can make a difference. And it is to make sure that the technology we think of here gets made here. In times past, we that opportunity was forgone. We can act as one on this. It just takes a government to take the science seriously, to organise and to work with business and the community to make all of that happen.