House debates

Monday, 26 September 2022

Questions without Notice


2:56 pm

Photo of Josh BurnsJosh Burns (Macnamara, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Water. How is the Albanese Labor government showing leadership on the environment, both nationally and internationally, after a decade of neglect?

Photo of Tanya PlibersekTanya Plibersek (Sydney, Australian Labor Party, Minister for the Environment and Water) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to thank the member for Macnamara for that question. He is one of the strongest advocates in this place for real action on climate change and for real action to protect our beautiful environment.

I was delighted this week when our Prime Minister signed the Leaders Pledge for Nature at the United Nations. This was an important commitment, joining Australia to the global effort to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030. This is a document that commits us as a nation to working with other nations on stronger global efforts to reduce deforestation; stop unsustainable fishing practices; provide more sustainable food systems; and promote the circular economy and recycling—not so controversial, really.

But those opposite refused the opportunity to sign up in 2020, because the Morrison government said, in a moment of real honesty, that this didn't fit; it was inconsistent with their policies. So they rejected the offer made by those dangerous greenies like Angela Merkel, Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron, Jacinda Ardern and Justin Trudeau, who invited us to be part of this international effort. And I tell you: they were right that this was inconsistent with their policies, because their policies over the last nine years saw them cut environment funding by 40 per cent, axe climate laws and sabotage the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, tying it up with brown tape. Those opposite failed to fix Australia's broken environmental laws. They hid the State of the environment report. They had it for months and never released it when they were in government, because it tells the story that Australia's environment is bad and getting worse.

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The minister will pause. I call the Manager of Opposition Business.

Photo of Paul FletcherPaul Fletcher (Bradfield, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Government Services and the Digital Economy) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr Speaker, on previous occasions you have directed a minister back to the question following a preamble. We had about 15 seconds on the question, and then it's been a general spray at the opposition's record, so I ask you to follow your own precedent and direct the minister back to the question.

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the manager. The question was specific about a decade of neglect. The minister is in order: she is referring to the past decade.

Photo of Tanya PlibersekTanya Plibersek (Sydney, Australian Labor Party, Minister for the Environment and Water) Share this | | Hansard source

I won't talk about the fact that they set recycling targets with no way of achieving them. I won't talk about the fact that they halved the areas of marine park under high conservation. Instead I will talk about our priorities, which are: legislating more ambitious emissions reduction targets; rewriting our environmental laws to build trust, integrity and efficiency into the system; growing the national estate so that 30 per cent of our land and 30 per cent of our seas will be protected by 2030; protecting our Great Barrier Reef with a $1.2 billion investment; delivering on the promises made and broken on Kakadu National Park by those opposite; establishing a world-leading nature market; investing to better protect threatened species—Australians are so dismayed by the fact that our koalas are now endangered along the eastern seaboard; doubling the number of Indigenous rangers; and adding to Indigenous protected areas. It is only ever under Labor that the environment is protected. (Time expired)