House debates

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Grievance Debate

Braddon Electorate: Environment

5:33 pm

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

One of our nation's most significant challenges is the management of our natural environment. Regardless of whether you live in the city, the suburbs, the country or the bush, this is an issue that affects everybody. We all want to live in a clean, green, pollution-free environment. We want our local parks and bush trails to be rubbish-free. We want our local streams to be clean and weed-free. We want pet and livestock owners to be responsible and we want our native animals to be protected. Right across the great electorate of Braddon, which covers the north-west, the west coast and King Island in Tasmania, individuals and community groups are doing some absolutely fantastic work when it comes to the management, conservation and protection of our natural habitats—our land, our rivers, our wetlands and our coast—and the species they support. It's our local communities who know their local environments better than most, and they have the knowledge, the skills and the passion to care for our beautiful places and the unique wildlife within them.

The Communities Environment Program is a fantastic electorate-based initiative that our government, the Morrison government, has put forward to address local environmental priorities in our region. I want to take this opportunity to recognise the recipients and those that are doing the hard work on the ground in relation to our environment. I'd like to thank the King Island Field Naturalists for the restoration of Pegarah nature reserve; Circular Head Landcare Group for cleaning up industrial rubbish in Duck River—they've done a fantastic job of that; Sulphur Creek/Preservation Bay Coastcare Group for their feral cat reduction program—as a farmer, I understand the impacts that feral cats have, and I've developed a real disdain for them; Friends of Reid Street Reserve for enhancing ecological connectivity to the Leven river; Friends of the Leven for stopping sycamores from invading the riverbanks; Devonport City Council for installing swift parrot nest boxes near Kelcey Tier; Mersey Estuary Group and Landcare for their work in restoring the Mersey river wetlands; Six Rivers Aboriginal Corporation for their fauna monitoring program and the work that they've done in recovering threatened species—and they've done some fantastic work; Rubicon Coast and Landcare for their feral cat reduction program—we can't have too many of these feral cat eradication programs, I always say; Wildcare and Friends of Narawntapu and their weeding programs for sea spurge to improve shore bird habitats; and, finally, Conservation Volunteers Australia for their work within coastal clean-ups and microplastic monitoring.

Last month I had the pleasure of hosting the Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley, in the electorate. I know the minister is passionate about the environment—as am I—the Communities Environment Program and practical environment solutions that we have in the electorate of Braddon. Our first stop was to a dairy farm owned by a mate of mine, Simon Elphinstone, a great farmer in Flowerdale. Simon was the recipient of a grant through the federally funded Cows Out of Creeks Program. He was keen to show us the work that he'd been undertaking to prevent livestock from getting into these watercourses and waterways. This program has been assisting farmers to build fencing in off-stream watering systems since 2014. Minister Ley and I are on the same page when it comes to looking after the land on which we live. Effective land management is practical land management, and the protection of our environment and productive agricultural areas go hand in hand. I don't know a single farmer that doesn't care deeply for the environment in which he or she works and lives. In chatting with Simon that day, it was obvious that he had a commitment to the program, to protecting the environment and to being a role model for others. Simon and the rest of the environmental grant recipients are just a few examples of the thousands of local people who actually care and make a practical difference every day. They nurture and restore our natural environment every day.

It takes all levels of government, businesses, local communities and individuals to meet the challenges of protecting our natural environment, and Australians generate more than 67 million tonnes of waste each year. To put this more geographically, that is about 30 garbage bags of waste for every man, woman and child. It's time to change the way we think about waste. It's no longer take, make and dispose. It's not acceptable. We must move away from being a throwaway society to a future where waste management is a complete value chain and where we have a circular economy with our waste system. The Morrison government's transformation of Australia's recycling industry has seen a landmark agreement with the Tasmanian state government. Investing in recycling makes sense. Elimination and reduction of waste must remain our priority focus, but when we do produce waste we need to consider it as a very valuable product—one that is too valuable to bury in the ground in landfill. I know that Tasmanian entrepreneurial business people throughout the state centre have the capacity to contribute to the nation's recycling solutions. Under the Recycling Modernisation Fund plastics grant program the Morrison government will partner with the Tasmanian state government to deliver a $16 million boost to the state's recycling industry.

I encourage all Tasmanian businesses to put forward their new ideas and technologies for tackling the country's growing waste issue. Guidelines to help businesses prepare applications are available from the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, and the final date for the nominations will close next week.

I've talked a lot about Tasmania's progression towards meeting a 100 per cent renewable energy target. Today I'm pleased to update the House that last year the great state of Tasmania met its 100 per cent renewable target two years ahead of schedule. That's a remarkable achievement and something that all Tasmanians should be proud of. But there's always a lot more to be done. I congratulate the Tasmanian Liberal government for resetting the bar. Legislation to double Tasmania's renewable generation to a global leading target of 200 per cent by 2030 has passed both houses of state government. What's more, as we progress the Battery of the Nation project, Tasmania will also provide clean, green and dispatchable energy to the mainland. Again, that's an exciting concept, as Australia needs more energy as we progress towards a renewable future. Battery of the Nation and Project Marinus is a 1,500 megawatt DC—direct current—

A division having been called in the House of Representatives—

Sitting suspended from 17:41 to 17:52

Before the suspension I was talking about Tasmania. Tasmania represents just one per cent of Australia's land mass. However, we receive nine per cent of Australia's rainfall and we have 26 per cent of Australia's fresh water in our hydro storage system, which comprises 54 dams and 30 power stations. We're using this to unlock the great asset that we have within Tasmania to transmit that energy via Project Marinus from Heybridge, on the north-west coast of Tasmania, to the mainland in Victoria. This will provide up to 1,500 megawatts of clean, reliable hydro energy to back in the dispatchable, firming energy that our NEG requires due to the exponential growth, 11 per cent of the international average, of renewables within Australia. In fact, we have the highest uptake of solar anywhere in the world, at 614 megawatts per every citizen. So we're using that effectively. This will provide a revenue source for the great state of Tasmania as well as doing its bit to firm up the National Energy Grid—great news for renewables and great news for Tasmania.

The Morrison government is committed to investing in the health of our soils, our water and our landscape. A key part of that is continuing to rely on the efforts, dedication, the natural resourcefulness and the innovation of the grassroots community groups like I mentioned earlier on. They are best placed to recognise, respond and adapt to challenges and changes as they appear. As always, it is always the practical, local actions that will make all the difference when it comes to keeping our region the very best place in the world to live.