Wednesday, 2 August 2023
Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Amendment (Using New Technologies to Fight Climate Change) Bill 2023; Second Reading
I rise today to say the coalition welcomes the introduction of this bill, the Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Amendment (Using New Technologies to Fight Climate Change) Bill 2023. This legislation is aimed at giving expression to two sets of amendments that were made several years ago to the London protocol. In our view, these are well-intended changes. If the bill is passed, it is likely to provide Australia with improved flexibility and opportunity in relation to the import and export of carbon dioxide streams and the rapidly emerging field of marine geoengineering. In turn, these changes would be likely to enhance Australia's capacity, and indeed the capacity of other nations, to reduce carbon emissions. Isn't that what we're all about? We're all trying to work out the most efficient ways of reducing carbon emissions, whether that be renewable energy, such as through solar or wind—as long as it's being put in the right place. I believe that solar panels should be put on rooftops within the cities, rather than knocking out new vegetation—vegetation that reduces carbon emissions through photosynthesis. Wind as well—let's use those technologies.
I also believe that this country should be investing in new, high-efficiency, low-emissions coal-fired power stations, because coal is the cheapest form of energy. Let's capture this carbon and then dispose of it appropriately. The current trajectory the Labor government is taking us on through this absolute renewable 'dream', at no real consideration to the environment, is absolutely ridiculous.
This is an ideal bill and it should definitely be passed.
Australia was a relatively early signatory to both instruments. We signed up to the London convention with effect from 1985, 10 years after it first came into international force. We became a party to the London protocol in the same year as it came into force globally, in 2006. Generally speaking, both instruments have worked effectively for us and for dozens of other countries that are signatories. However, it steadily became apparent that we needed to modernise the protocol in order to reflect the range of environmental issues and considerations in relation to the use of various emerging technology, such as carbon capture and storage; carbon capture, utilisation and storage, or CCUS; and marine engineering.
Once again, let's be very clear: coal is the cheapest form of energy. We have it abundantly available in this wonderful country of ours. We should not just be sending it overseas to let other people create the energy out of it. We should be using it within our own country through a high-efficiency, low-emission coal-fired power station, and then we could capture the carbon and dispose of it appropriately. As everyone can see at the present point in time, power prices are going through the roof. This is on the back of a promise from the Albanese Labor government—a promise made 97 times—of power being cheaper by $275. So we need to get rid of the renewable dream.