House debates

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Constituency Statements

United States Presidential Election

5:03 pm

Photo of Tim WattsTim Watts (Gellibrand, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Communications) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to rise today to offer my congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris on winning the 2020 US presidential election. As Joe Biden said in his acceptance speech, 'America is at its best when it is a beacon for the globe, when it leads not by the example of its power but by the power of its example.' Joe Biden's election win is a powerful example to the world of how we must put jobs at the heart of our response to climate change. Joe Biden took the most ambitious climate change policy we've seen in the US to the American people, and it was endorsed at the 2020 election. It was not just a target for zero emissions by 2050, but zero emissions from the electricity sector by 2035 through massive investment in clean energy. They didn't campaign on stopping things; they campaigned on creating things, using government leadership to create 10 million clean-economy jobs—not only investing in clean-energy infrastructure but also investing in state-level, low-carbon manufacturing strategies to help manufacturers grow in a clean economy; investing in research and development needed to create middleclass jobs in new clean-economy industries; investing in the education and training needed to enable people to make the most of these opportunities. Election day was a resounding endorsement of their strategy—a five-million-vote lead in the popular vote. People recognise the clear and present threat climate change poses to our planet and they want to see action. They have seen the devastating impacts of climate change, just as we have here, from superstorms to the deadly California wildfires.

This is not about conservative politics against aggressive politics; it's about leadership. Around the world, governments, including conservative ones, are acknowledging the need to take strong action on climate change and they are acting. In fact, the United Kingdom, a great friend of Australia, is a leader in this field. The Johnson conservative government has committed to net zero emissions by 2050 and has cemented it in law. The European Union, India, Japan, China and South Korea have also committed to net zero emissions targets in the future. They all now have a stronger commitment to reaching net zero emissions than the Australian government. They are offering science, while the Morrison government denies it. They're offering hope, while the Morrison government pedals fear. While the Morrison government plays politics of fear on climate change, the world's largest superpower and Australia's three biggest importers of coal are leaving us behind. The Morrison government is isolated on climate change internationally. Our friends are urging us to take bold action on climate change and our best customers have given notice.

While the Morrison government lags behind, an Albanese Labor government would take strong action on climate change. We have a clear target to tackle climate change—net zero carbon emissions by 2050—and, in the budget reply, the federal Labor leader started to show how we will create jobs while achieving this target, launching our $20 billion Rewiring the Nation policy to upgrade our electricity transmission system for renewable energy and to create thousands of new jobs, particularly in regional areas along the way. Australia can be a renewable energy superpower, and the Australian public are looking to the people in this place to show the leadership necessary to get us there.

5:07 pm

Photo of Vince ConnellyVince Connelly (Stirling, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I would like to build on the previous member's passion for the environment and talk about an initiative this government is getting behind which will reduce congestion on the roads and be a cleaner, greener method of bulk transport. Part of the role of government is to look ahead at innovations that are available which change the nature of how we do business, make people's lives easier, save money and continue to deliver essential services. One of those critical areas is the provision of transport infrastructure. I'm very pleased that the Morrison government is delivering $84½ million in critical infrastructure improvements in my electorate of Stirling. Forty-five million dollars has been provided for a massive improvement to the Stirling bus station on Cedric Street; $17½ million has been provided over and above $65 million for the Stephenson Avenue extension project; and I'm pleased to be able to say that this list now includes $2 million in funding for a business case for a trackless tram between the main north-south Mitchell Freeway and Glendalough Station at the beautiful Scarborough Beach.

Part of the argument made by me, the neighbouring member for Curtin, Celia Hammond, and the City of Stirling in requesting funds has been that this is the only location in WA and, as I understand it, the nation, which is shovel-ready for this type of project. The city has done years of rezoning for the seven-kilometre route between the heavy rail line out to Scarborough Beach, at the famous foreshore, which now boasts a $100 million redevelopment. I would now like to acknowledge the City of Stirling and its visionary leadership under Mayor Mark Irwin, Deputy Mayor Bianca Sandri, and CEO, Stuart Jardine. In my term so far as the federal member for Stirling, it's been really encouraging and enjoyable to work with the City of Stirling to deliver and improve the lives of people in Stirling.

Trackless tram will add another fantastic improvement. Trackless tram is an innovative technology which seeks to be the best of both worlds, sitting somewhere on the spectrum between light rail and buses. With both heavy and light rail being incredibly expensive and disruptive to install, running into hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions of dollars, trackless tram runs on painted lines and is electric-battery powered. That makes it much cheaper to install for potentially the same kind of benefit, compared to light rail and even more traditional track lines. To progress this initiative, the next step is to fund a business case. This will study the viability of this trackless-tram project. I'm very grateful to the urban infrastructure minister, Alan Tudge, for his vision and leadership in funding this innovative project which aims to deliver the right solution for Australia's future.