Tackling Climate Change - The 'Australian Way'

Tackling Climate Change - The 'Australian Way' Main Image

28 October 2021

The government claim they've come up with a plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, and they claim they're going to do it the Australian way—the Aussie way. Really? This is a plan that's not a plan and, as we learned today, it's a plan that's based on no modelling. There's no modelling, no legislation and no increase from Tony Abbott's medium-term targets.

The government think this so-called plan is what's best for people in rural and regional Australia, like the community I represent on the Central Coast of New South Wales, but they're wrong. We deserve more than slideshows and slogans. We're lucky to live on one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline, the Central Coast, one of the best parts of the world, and we want to protect it now and into the future. That's the Australian way. That's what Australians do, but not according to this government.

After eight long years of sitting on its hands when it comes to climate policy, this government has finally come up with a so-called plan to meet net zero by 2050, except there's no new policy in this announcement. The government hasn't provided any modelling for their plan or legislation. It's just a plan to promote the Minister for Resources and Water back to cabinet. Just last week in parliament, they voted against legislating net-zero emissions by 2050. People in my community, people across Australia, need action from this government. That's the Australian way: action, not more empty promises.

The government claims it wants to reduce emissions the Australian way. At the same time, it's refusing to put a stop to risky projects like PEP 11. This is a project that would devastate our local environment, our marine life and our local economy. It would put thousands of local jobs at risk—jobs that rely on our pristine coastline. This isn't the Australian way. The Prime Minister says in the community—he said it in the Hunter—that he's opposed to PEP 11, but, at the same time, the resources minister, whom he has recently elevated to cabinet, is yet to make a decision. This is the same minister who said, 'Find me a solar panel that works in the dark.' The resources minister was supposed to make a final decision on PEP 11, back in February, yet he's still delaying. He says he's still considering it. He says he's taking advice. He's refusing to make a decision eight months after his original deadline. That's not the Aussie way. This is the same minister who says investment in renewable energy delivered little more than a warm and fuzzy feeling. If this government can't rule out dangerous projects like PEP 11, it can't be trusted with Australia's national climate plan and it can't be trusted to create and protect Australian jobs.

People in regional communities like the Central Coast want to see real action on climate. The Prime Minister says the Australian way is respecting people's choice. Well, Prime Minister, listen to the voice of the people in my community and hear what they have to say, like Matthew from Norah Head. He told me: 'I want a world for my children to grow up in. Increasingly, there are severe natural disasters, extinction, dying ecosystems. Our government needs to do something before it is truly too late.' Or there was Kay from Lisarow. Kay told me, 'The science tells us we must act now and act decisively to avoid catastrophic conditions for humans and our world's flora and fauna.' Or there was Michael from The Entrance. This is what Michael told me, 'The Morrison government are setting up the Australian people for profound disappointment and abysmal failure in meeting and beating their so-called carbon emission reduction targets by gambling on future unknown technology that has not been thought of, let alone developed.' Michael called it 'pie in the sky' and 'policy on the run'. Michael has hit the nail on the head. How can we rely on this government to show leadership on climate change when the basis of their policy doesn't even exist yet?

The Prime Minister says he will tackle climate change the Australian way. He says the Australian way involves respecting people's choices. Well, Prime Minister, respect the choices of the people of my community and of people all up and down the east coast of New South Wales, who have said, loudly and clearly, no to PEP 11. Clearly, this government doesn't respect the choices of those people and doesn't respect the choices of those thousands of people up and down the east coast in my community. They don't want PEP 11. This government is refusing to act; that's not the Australian way. The Prime Minister can't say he is opposed to PEP 11 in the Hunter and then in this parliament allow PEP 11 to go ahead. That's not the Australian way—that's not fair dinkum! That's not what Aussies in my community want. They don't want the Prime Minister of Australia to say one thing when he's in their community and not act when he's in the parliament. That's un-Australian—that's not the Australian way. The Aussies in my community deserve better than this Prime Minister.