House debates

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Questions without Notice


2:29 pm

Photo of Gavin PearceGavin Pearce (Braddon, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for the Environment. Will the minister outline to the House how the Morrison government is leading domestic and international efforts to protect and preserve our environment?

Photo of Sussan LeySussan Ley (Farrer, Liberal Party, Minister for the Environment) Share this | | Hansard source

It is a pleasure to take a question from my friend the member for Braddon in the great state of Tasmania and to talk about the Australian government's strong domestic and international leadership on protecting the environment. Whether it be oceans, reefs or climate adaptation in our unique natural landscapes, Australia is, indeed, a global leader. There is no place where this is more demonstrated than in Antarctica, which is of special interest to every single Tasmanian. Australia has always been the strongest voice in protecting this last untouched wilderness on earth. At a recent international meeting, we were joined by Norway and Uruguay as new co-sponsors in our efforts to champion a new East Antarctica Marine Park. While we haven't got there yet, our efforts in Antarctica will always have a focus on scientific research, protecting the environment and using the continent for peaceful purposes.

We have reported on the construction and operation of a new icebreaker, which is undergoing sea trials near the Netherlands, advancing the Davis aerodrome project—the first all-weather runway. Of most interest, the million-year ice core drill is being made in Hobart with the amazing Australian Antarctic Division. This is an ice-core drill that will drill to find how the climate on earth changed a million years ago. There is no doubt that our Antarctic scientists punch well above their weight, with their deep understanding of Southern Ocean climate systems. I find it amazing that the opposition is laughing at the work of Antarctic science; I think it is extraordinary.

The Great Barrier Reef: benchmarked against global standards, our management of the reef is recognised as a leading example and it is considered by many to be of a gold standard. But that is not me saying that; that is UNESCO saying that in their reports, because of the work we are doing in our pioneering research and adaptation program, funded through our $1.9 billion investment on the reef. Such work is enhancing the natural genetic adaptation of corals so they can survive in warming waters. The minister for science is well aware of the program at the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Back on land, I know the member for Braddon is interested in Landcare, a movement which does attract international acclaim because it brings together conservation and the production of food and fibre on the 50 per cent of our continent that is managed by farmers. The Minister for Agriculture would agree that enhances our international clean, green reputation.

I could talk about our Indigenous protected areas. Seventy-four million hectares are managed with the unique approach of our First Australians and that extraordinary work, again, is internationally acclaimed. There is no better way to demonstrate leadership than what we do on the ground with practical action in communities, oceans, reefs, sea ranges and land care. (Time expired)