Turnbull Government on Climate Change
November 26, 2015
I am very pleased to rise in the House today to speak on this matter of public importance to set the record straight and to smash yet another one of the myths started by the increasingly irrelevant Labor Party.
Australia is on track to meet and beat our 2020 target to cut emissions by five per cent below 2000 levels. This was confirmed in figures released by the Department of the Environment only yesterday.
Australia has a strong, credible and significant emissions reduction target. We heard about it today from the Minister for the Environment—26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. Our emissions will be up to 52 per cent lower on a per capita basis—the equal largest reduction of any G20 country. Currently, Australia is the 14th largest emitter; however, after taking into account all countries' commitments, we drop down to being the 25th largest emitter by 2030. That is real action by the Turnbull government.
Whether you believe so-called climate change is due to human behavior, planetary motion, ocean currents or solar variability et cetera, to me, is not the point. My view is that governments all around the world should focus their efforts on ensuring that the environment in which we live is in better shape tomorrow than it was yesterday. Australia has one of the most effective systems in the world for reducing emissions, and with environment minister Greg Hunt at the helm, we have led the way. The world is rejecting carbon taxes and embracing direct action style approaches involving practical actions to reduce emissions.
When it comes to renewable energy, the Turnbull government, yet again, has a solid record. We have reaffirmed our strong commitment to supporting household solar. We in Australia have the highest proportion of households with solar panels in the world, with about 15 per cent, nearly double that of the next highest country, Belgium, at around 7.5 per cent.
But, like most of their other portfolios, the Labor Party do not have a plan to tackle climate change. They just whinge or do nothing new in particular. They stand up—as we heard them today—and make a big song and dance about the government's plan, yet they do not have a policy on the area themselves or none that they care to commit that might be new. In the last five years, the Labor Party have had five—that is right, five—different policies, while we on this side of the chamber have had one strong, consistent and effective policy. As for the watermelon party, the Greens—let's face it, we all know they are green on the outside but red on the inside; as we have seen in election after election, they preference their partners in crime on the other side—are grossly irresponsible. They want to reduce emissions by 60 to 80 per cent by 2030. But how? The question remains.
While in government together last term, Labor and the Greens presided over a series of waste, mismanagement and bungles. Who could forget the carbon tax? It was their big idea for dealing with climate change. This tax did little to improve the environment, but it put a huge impost on the price of energy in this country. It had the greatest impact on the most vulnerable members of our community, whom those opposite say they represent. What a joke? Of course, the biggest flaw is that the carbon tax was a local tax. If global warming is the problem it was trying to solve then, by definition, we require a 'global solution'. That is why Australia must join with the international community to determine how to achieve a long-term global reduction in CO2, emissions.
While we are talking about those opposite, who could forget the Home Insulation Program, which was linked to deaths of four people, 224 home fires and 70,000 repairs.
It is worth repeating, because it was Australia's greatest embarrassment. There were the bungled green loans. Three independent reports found extensive mismanagement. Let's not forget the citizens assembly. What a fabulous initiative! It was a 2010 election promise to assemble 15 citizens to discuss ways to tackle climate change, which was dumped just weeks after the election. What a shameful waste!
Mr Deputy Speaker, as you can see, clearly the government has made significant inroads in addressing climate and change, and improving our environment. Our current policies are working. We will meet our 2020 and 2030 targets. As we have heard today, the Department of the Environment has released a formal emissions update on our 2020 target, which shows that we are on track to beat out 2020 target by a whopping 28 million tonnes. That is whatI call good government.