Wednesday, 2 December 2015
I was one of many thousands of Tasmanians at a people's climate rally on Sunday in Hobart on the Parliament House lawns. These rallies were held around Australia and around the world. Having recently surveyed my electorate, I know that climate change remains one of the most important issues for residents in my area. Of course that is no surprise, given the low-lying areas of my electorate—all of those bound by the ocean, and the many islands along the coast of my electorate. The people in my electorate of Franklin are concerned about climate change, just like many people around the world are, because of its impact.
The impact here in Australia, we know, is estimated to cost more than $200 billion if we get the 1.1 metre rise of sea level, and that is very substantial indeed. It would affect Australia annually by $7.3 billion or reduce our GDP by one per cent per year. That is why it was so important that Australia should have stood up in Paris this week.
Of course, we know that the Prime Minister went to Paris this week with Tony Abbott's climate change policy. Indeed, the only thing we saw from the new Prime Minister that is different was his pledge to double renewables. But, of course, we know that pledge is really just restoring what Labor had already done on renewables. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation's annual report shows that clean energy investment in Australia last financial year was just over $3 billion, and that is almost half of the $6 billion that it was when Labor was in government in 2012 to 2013. This commitment by Prime Minister Turnbull to double renewables, really, is not a commitment at all. All it is doing is restoring where it was under Labor.
We also know, of course, that the government has no plan to do that, and we heard in parliament just this week that the government is still planning to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and ARENA, who are actually the innovators in this technology that would allow Australia to invest more in renewables and to be world leading in the area of renewables. Labor's policy announced by Bill Shorten just before Paris and before the weekend rally is in stark contrast to that of the government. Labor has said that we will implement a five-yearly pledge to review mechanisms to assess progress, that we will have a target of zero net pollution by 2050, that we will consult on the Climate Change Authority's 2030 baseline target of a 40 per cent reduction of carbon pollution based on 2005 levels and, within a year of coming to government, that we will put in place a 2025 target for reducing emissions. This was a very significant statement by Bill Shorten in the lead-up to Paris. It is a shame that Prime Minister Turnbull did not do more in Paris and did not say more about what Australia's commitment should be, and I know my residents will be very disappointed. (Time expired)