Tuesday, 10 September 2019
Matters of Urgency
In rising to speak, I again note that this is not my first speech, but I thank the Senate for providing me an opportunity to highlight what the Liberal-National coalition government is doing to meet and beat our emissions target and to protect and preserve Australia's iconic environment. Ladies and gentlemen, this issue is not about fearmongering. We have to get away from the fearmongering, otherwise we turn the community against us. What we have to focus on is taking real action to clean the air we breathe, to clean our oceans and waterways of polluted rubbish and to recycle and reduce waste. That is what we need to focus on.
The government has previously acknowledged that emissions for this year to March 2019 are up by 0.6 per cent, but this increase is more than accounted for by an increase in our LNG production related emissions and LNG exports increase. But I also note that the use of LNG for power production is a far cleaner alternative than coal-fired power stations, and so we should be applauding and supporting our continued export of this alternative power source.
Importantly, emissions without expansion of LNG continue on a downward trajectory and, in each year since 2014, have been lower than they were under the former Labor government. Emissions per person continue to fall, and the emissions intensity of the Australian economy continues to fall. In fact, they are at their lowest levels in nearly three decades. We are on track to overachieve our 2020 emissions reduction target by 367 million tonnes. This is a turnaround from the emissions debt that we inherited in 2013.
This government is tackling climate change and reducing emissions not by shutting down industries, as some in this place would like us to do, and not by axing Australian jobs. Instead, we are doing this while growing our economy and keeping electricity prices down. Through our $3.5 billion Climate Solutions Package, the government have mapped out—down to the last tonne—how we intend to meet our Paris Agreement target. We have laid out how we will deliver our 2030 target 11 years ahead of time. Through this Climate Solutions Package we are also supporting farmers, businesses and Indigenous communities to reduce their greenhouse gases.
We are bringing new electricity generation projects online, such as clean hydro solutions Snowy 2.0 and the Tasmanian Battery of the Nation. We are supporting households and businesses to improve their energy efficiency and lower their energy bills. But we're not stopping there. Our Climate Solutions Package is just one part of the broader strategy to reduce emissions and protect and preserve Australia's iconic environment. The strategy is underpinned by a series of actions that are practical, meaningful and, importantly, can be implemented to achieve a cleaner environment.
Through our $167 million recycling investment plan, we're supporting increased recycling rates, tackling plastic waste and continuing action to halve food waste by 2030. We've established a $100 million Environment Restoration Fund to support major environmental projects that deliver lasting conservation benefits. And we're facilitating a Communities Environment Program, which is providing $150,000 to every federal electorate.