Monday, 20 March 2023
Private Members' Business
That this House:
(1) notes that:
(a) climate change will cause irreversible damage to Australia's unique ecosystem;
(b) communities across Australia are experiencing the impacts of more severe natural disasters attributable to climate change;
(c) action on climate change is beneficial both environmentally and economically;
(d) delaying action will lead to lost opportunities for Australia and worsening climate impacts;
(e) the hydrogen industry will be a key component of the transition to a low-emissions economy, and could add $50 billion to Australia's gross domestic product and support 16,000 jobs by 2050; and
(f) the former Government's lack of policy certainty on energy and climate change led to a wasted decade;
(2) acknowledges that:
(a) the Government's legislated emissions reduction targets of 43 per cent by 2030, and net-zero by 2050 provide certainty for investment in low emissions technology;
(b) the establishment of a Capacity Investment Scheme (CIS) will drive the uptake of new renewable dispatchable capacity and support the Government's target of 82 per cent renewable energy in the electricity grid by 2030;
(c) Australia has signed the Global Methane Pledge to reduce methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030; and
(d) the Government has continued to invest in Australia's hydrogen industry and has fostered international partnerships to establish Australia as a major hydrogen exporter; and
(3) recognises that:
(a) climate action is important to Australia's Pacific neighbours; and
(b) the Australian people voted for greater action on climate change and the Government is delivering.
Climate has been used as a political football over the last 10 years, used to score points and divide communities rather than improve our society. The last decade has seen 22 energy policies, but not one has improved the lives of Australians and instead they have left us in the mess that we are in currently with rising power bills and limited supply. Australia should have been, with its enviable position, at the forefront of new and emerging technologies. We have all the raw materials and the expertise here ready to provide Australians what they want: greener, cleaner and available energy to power homes, businesses and their future. Instead, all the inaction has left us languishing.
However, since coming to office the Albanese Labor government has turned this around, and the list is impressive. We have strengthened Australia's 2030 emissions reduction target to 43 per cent. We have passed the first real climate change bill in a decade through the parliament. We have hosted the Sydney Energy Forum with energy ministers from key allied countries. We have signed the Australia-US Net Zero Technology Acceleration Partnership. We have signed a $200 million climate and infrastructure partnership with Indonesia. We have endorsed at the Pacific Island Forum Leaders Meeting a bid to host COP 29. We have agreed to the Energy Market Operator's Integrated System Plan to upgrade our electricity grid.
We have made sure that the Renewable Energy Agency can't invest in things like coal and gas. We passed the electric car tax discount through the House of Representatives, making EVs more affordable. We have established Australia's first real National Electric Vehicle Strategy. We have limited the amount of sulphur in petrol, saving millions in health related costs. We have expanded the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme. We have announced the first areas of offshore wind development in Australia. We have appointed an Australian ambassador for climate change. We have signed a partnership to jointly fund the critical Marinus Link transmission project. We have signed an agreement to jointly fund Victorian offshore wind projects, REZs and the Victoria to New South Wales connector. We have tightened noxious emissions standards for trucks and buses.
We've also announced $224 million for the Community Batteries for Household Solar Program to deploy 400 community-scale batteries for almost 100,000 Australian households. We've announced $102 million for community solar banks for 25,000 Australians living in apartments, rentals and low-income households. We've announced $63.9 million to invest in dispatchable storage technologies such as large-scale battery projects. We've announced $62.6 million for Energy Efficiency Grants for Small and Medium Enterprises to reduce their energy use and lower their energy bills. We've announced $83.8 million to develop and deploy First Nation community microgrid projects for remote communities. We are continuing to reform the safeguard mechanisms to reduce emissions from Australia's biggest emitters and review the ACCUs so that we have confidence in our carbon credit system. This isn't a complete list, and we are continuing to work every day to bring about these changes.
The Business Council of Australia, Australian Industry Group, and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Investment have urged bipartisan support for the government's measures, including the reforms to the safeguard mechanism. Renewable investors are already responding positively to the Albanese government's strong emissions reduction targets and stable policy environment. Business understands this, industry understands this and the unions understand this. The 2022 emission project report and annual statement show that the actions and policies of this government so far have placed Australia on track for 40 per cent emissions reduction by 2030. That is, we've lifted the outlook by a third in just the first six months of our government. What is further promising is that the projections do not yet include the Powering Australia measures, such as some elements of the Powering the Regions Fund and the National Electric Vehicle Strategy. Policies that our government received a mandate for and are working on implementing will result in the 43 per cent.
This is a cause for optimism, and the shift that has occurred over a short time since the May election means that we will meet our projections, and we will be a cleaner, greener place. Australia can be a renewable energy superpower, and we can be part of the solution to climate change.