House debates

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Questions without Notice

Climate Change

2:43 pm

Photo of Dave SharmaDave Sharma (Wentworth, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is for the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology. Will the minister please update the House on how the Morrison government is backing our world-class science agency the CSIRO to continue its vital work in building climate and disaster resilience?

2:44 pm

Photo of Karen AndrewsKaren Andrews (McPherson, Liberal Party, Minister for Industry) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for his question. Science and research is all about solving problems and advancing humanity. That means, of course, supporting the environment. I know that the minister for emissions reduction and the Minister for the Environment have a range of programs to build climate resilience within their portfolios. And as the minister for science I am focused on ensuring our science and research agencies are delivering the very practical outcomes that make a real and significant difference.

The CSIRO has been building climate resilience for decades now, and they are achieving some amazing outcomes for breeding things such as drought tolerant and water efficient crop varieties. Importantly, their FutureFeed project is a potential game changer when it comes to reducing emissions around the world. If cattle were a country, they would be the world's third-largest emitter behind China and the United States. The CSIRO has developed a specific type of seaweed to be used as a feed supplement for stock, and that supplement reduces methane emissions by more than 80 per cent. If just 10 per cent of the livestock industry started using the FutureFeed supplement, it would have the same positive climate effect as removing 100 million cars from the road. The FutureFeed supplement also increases productivity in cattle and sheep by around 10 per cent, providing a boost to our farmers' bottom line. It's great for the environment and it's great for business. As an added bonus, growing seaweed for feed helps remediate waste nutrients and reverses the growing levels of excess CO2 in our oceans. This is very practical work and I'm delighted that this work has now been commercialised, with investors coming on board to take this product to market.

This is a perfect example of how we adapt and build climate resilience without having to shut down industries. In fact, CSIRO's work is helping us to open new industries. For example, they've come up with a metal membrane that will be able to extract pure hydrogen from ammonia, and that paves the way for a new clean energy export market. Building resilience to reduce the impact of drought, flood, fire and a changing climate is vital. It's vital for the wellbeing of our communities and it's vital for our economy.