Tuesday, 8 August 2023
Questions without Notice
Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct
My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Climate Change and Energy. Minister, the Albanese government is continuing the Morrison government's climate-destroying gas obsession, with $1.5 billion in public subsidies to develop Darwin's Middle Arm precinct. The US gas company Tamboran wants to frack the Beetaloo and send the gas to Middle Arm, where they have access rights to build a massive gas export terminal to ship that gas overseas. Will the government continue with this $1.5 billion taxpayer corporate handout, knowing that without doubt you are enabling the expansion of gas while the planet boils?
I met with the Chief Minister for the Northern Territory, I think, on her recent visit. The point she made to me was that some of the ways in which Middle Arm is described, including in that question, don't accord with the reality of what is occurring. This is public, common-use marine infrastructure, and this is infrastructure that will be needed to develop clean energy industries to get to net zero. I know that the Greens don't have to deal in government with the reality of how to transition to net zero, but we are determined, as a government, to do that. I appreciate that it's a very controversial issue locally and politically, but I think we should all take a step back and understand what is being proposed here: public common-use marine infrastructure to—
What the! Senator Gallagher pointed out yesterday that whenever someone doesn't agree with you, you accuse them of some sort of corruption. It really is a very poor debating point. They're not a cartel, and nor are we. We just don't agree with your position on this. We actually think infrastructure that will develop clean energy industries as well as enabling Australia's gas industry is part of the transition. We don't have the same view that the Greens do on this. I'd make the point that the NT government is seeking to ensure that a range of industries could utilise this infrastructure. We think that's appropriate, and that's what the Commonwealth investment is about.
Parents and doctors from across the country are in parliament today to raise the alarm about the threat of Middle Arm. The science and scientists can't be any clearer. Any new fossil fuel project being built now will blow the government's net zero target. What do you choose: $1.5 billion enabling a gas export terminal at Middle Arm or your net zero target?
I would make the point that I've made in here previously and that, I suspect, will be as successful with the Greens political party as it has been for the last decade or so. That is that emissions under the Paris agreement, under the UNFCCC framework, are measured in terms of emissions from entities that a country is responsible for, so obviously—
Senator Henderson, I will remind you that, as I recall, your party did support net zero by 2050, and I think you probably said so in Victoria, but if you'd like to go and explain to them that you've shifted from that position, I'd be very happy to watch that happen.
QI () (): The Antarctic is currently missing sea ice the size of Western Australia this winter, while South America is experiencing temperatures of 40 degrees in winter. Do you think that gas expansion in Middle Arm will make these trends better or worse?
(—) (): We think we'll respond to those disasters and tragedies—which are occurring exactly as science has predicted, and we know what happened in terms of those opposite ignoring those—by doing what we said what we would do when we were elected: having an ambitious program on climate; increasing our emissions reductions targets to 43 per cent; becoming one of just 33 countries to enshrine these targets in the law of the land; bringing back the Climate Change Authority; putting net zero in the objects of the CEFC and ARENA acts; legislating the Rewiring the Nation fund; and so much more. That is what we will do, and what we will also do is work with the Pacific in the context of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to make sure the voices of the Pacific are elevated. That's what we will do, because we are interested in outcomes and making sure Australia contributes to the trajectory the world has to be on. (Time expired)