House debates

Monday, 22 February 2021

Statements by Members

Petition: Energy

1:42 pm

Photo of Andrew WilkieAndrew Wilkie (Clark, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

Today I'm presenting a petition from the Peoples Climate Assembly calling on the government to abandon its dangerous and short-sighted plan for a gas led recovery from the recent economic downturn. If it weren't so tragic, it would be laughable, because science tells us that no developed country has more to lose from climate change fuelled extreme weather than Australia, but nonetheless our government continues to press on with its archaic plan to expand gas production across the country at the taxpayers' expense, even though gas is obviously a fossil fuel and resorting to it will lock in emissions for decades, with catastrophic consequences Already we've seen bushfires, heatwaves and floods destroying homes and livelihoods, and all the while the government squabbles internally over a 2050 net zero thought bubble and the delusion of low-emissions coal. Frankly, the opposition isn't much better, with the community being left to ask of Labor, 'So what's your plan?' But it doesn't have to be like this, because we could accept the inevitable shift to renewable energy, support our transitioning industries, create green jobs, lead the way in community owned energy and storage and take advantage of Australia's abundant renewable resources. In closing, I table the petition, which has been considered by the Petitions Committee and found to be in order.

The petition read as follows—

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives assembled in Parliament:

We are deeply concerned that the Government's plan for a gas-led recovery will cause immense damage to our climate and our economy. Australia is very vulnerable to the effects of climate change. We have not forgotten the bushfires of last summer. A majority of Australians support strong and immediate action to reduce our carbon emissions, with three quarters supporting a target of net zero emissions by 2030. The recent commitment to net zero emissions by the three largest importers of Australian coal and gas (China, Japan and South Korea), as well as the likelihood of carbon tariffs being imposed by the EU, the US and others on goods from 'climate laggard' countries like Australia, are clear signals that our economic future does not lie in fossil fuels. Reports published this year by Climate Works, the Grattan Institute, Beyond Zero Emissions and the Climate Council outline strategies to stimulate short and long term jobs growth and cut carbon emissions in energy, transport, buildings, industry and land use. Spending to fast track Australia's economic recovery from the Covid pandemic provides us with a unique opportunity to reset our economy to make it fit for the twenty first century and to safeguard our future.

We therefore ask the House to reject the spending of public money on a 'gas-led recovery' and instead, develop a Covid recovery package that stimulates green jobs growth by immediately accelerating the transition to a net zero carbon economy.

from 4027 citizens (Petition No. EN2239)

Petition received.