Wednesday, 5 February 2020
Questions without Notice
To the Prime Minister: In a time of crisis, the Australian people have rallied and been united in their response. They are looking to us now in this place for unity and leadership to be safe in the future. It's been predicted that, without action now, impacts and events resulting from global warming will get much worse. Will you honour the sacrifice of all those impacted during this bushfire crisis by showing bipartisan support for effective, long-term plans to lower our emissions, mitigate the worst of climate change and, united, keep Australians safe?
I thank the member for her question. In the royal commission that we are seeking to establish—and I have written to the state and territory premiers and chief ministers to get their comment and feedback on that royal commission's terms of reference—it is accepted that climate change has impacted Australia; that we're in for longer, hotter, drier summers; and that there are actions that we need to take to protect Australians into the future. Those actions are many. In my address to the National Press Club last week I set out what they were.
Of course Australia must continue to take the actions we are to meet and beat our emissions reductions targets, which have already seen us reduce emissions by 12.8 per cent since 2005. We have an emissions reduction target out to 2030 that we took to the Australian people and that will see emissions per capita fall by half. We are ahead of countries like New Zealand and we are ahead of countries like Canada in meeting and beating our targets. We will beat our Kyoto emissions target by some 411 million tonnes. At the same time, our renewable energy per capita is more than double what's being achieved in Germany and in many other countries around the world. We have one of the highest levels of investment in renewable energy anywhere in the developed world. In fact, we have the highest target for emissions reduction out to 2030 in Asia, compared to those nations.
Emissions reduction is important, and we're acting on that reduction. But I can tell you that resilience to climate is also important, and hazard reduction is important, if not more important, than emissions reduction when it comes to protecting people from fire and hotter, drier, longer summers in the future. Also, in a country ravaged by drought and the impacts that we have experienced—and that drought continues—building dams is climate action now. That's what it is. All of these measures—resilience, adaptation and emissions reduction—I see the puzzlement on Labor members' faces—
Mr Dreyfus interjecting—
They don't think that building dams is a way to ensure that we're building resilience for a climate in the future which is racked by the impact of longer, hotter, drier summers. The Labor Party—
Ms Butler interjecting—
The Prime Minister will pause for a second! The member for Griffith will leave under standing order 94(a).
The member for Griffith then left the chamber.
Mr Fitzgibbon interjecting—
The member for Hunter is also warned. The Prime Minister has the call.
The Labor Party don't seem to understand that one of the things you have to do to make the climate resilient in the future is to build dams. We have to broaden this conversation. We have to broaden the conversation about climate. It must deal with resilience, it must deal with adaptation and it must deal with emissions reduction. But this government will not tax people more to get emissions reductions down. We won't put their electricity prices up to get emissions reductions down and we will not wipe out industries to get emissions down. (Time expired)