Speech: Climate Change - The importance of legislating net zero emissions by 2050

Speech: Climate Change - The importance of legislating net zero emissions by 2050 Main Image

27 October 2021

Mrs PHILLIPS (Gilmore) (15:43): [by video link] My constituents in Gilmore want action on this climate crisis. Those that sit opposite are divided and all over the place when it comes to addressing climate change, and we are seeing that again with another climate denier now back in cabinet. It is the ultimate irony that the member for Hinkler is now the resources minister when he does not support net zero emissions. He does not support the resources jobs, the jobs right throughout regional Australia, that are provided by the resources industry. That was the deal that had to be struck to even get to the bare minimum of net zero by 2050. Furthermore, they traded off $250 billion for fossil fuel projects that the banks won't even touch. 

And what of the coalition's flirtation with nuclear energy? I remind the House that I was part of the Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy nuclear energy inquiry in 2019. I speak as strongly now, as I did then, in my opposition to any shift towards nuclear power.

But as recently as 2018 the Nationals even went so far as to pass a motion at the federal council calling on the federal and state governments to abolish regulation as necessary to allow the development of nuclear energy. The new Resources Minister? Their biggest nuclear advocate.

The Gilmore electorate will never accept a nuclear power plant being built in Jervis Bay, not now, not ever. The risks are simply too great—risks to our beautiful coastline and to our health, risks to the reputation of our primary producers and to our hospitality and tourism industries that thrive on our environment. We know that accidents happen. We have seen that.

Climate change is the biggest challenge facing the planet and the biggest economic opportunity in front of Australia, but it requires leadership and detailed framework. But all we received yesterday were some slides and more slogans and no solutions, no plan on how to encourage greater private investment in renewables.  Nothing!

Only an Albanese Labor Government will provide certainty and the detailed policy required. This government has been there for almost nine years, and quite literally two days before the Prime Minister jets off to Glasgow, for the most important international conference on climate change this century, he offers no new initiatives. That's right. In their own words, this plan is based on our "existing policies".

Knowing this government is all about 'spin', legislation is paramount in providing the people of Australia with a commitment, the same certainty enjoyed in Germany, across France and the United Kingdom. All have formally legislated net zero emissions by 2050.

So, the Australian people have a choice: the Morrison government which doesn't really believe in net zero by 2050, with no plan to get there, or, a Labor Government which believes passionately that the world's climate emergency is Australia's jobs opportunity.

People in my electorate do want to see more renewables and more jobs in renewables. We should be the renewable superpower that will benefit the regions. Cheaper, cleaner power.

Locally in Gilmore we have great community groups, like "Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action"; businesses; and organisations that are just waiting to have the policies in place under a Labor Government to support more renewables and more jobs in renewables. I know we can turn good climate policy into good jobs policy and reduce emissions and create long-term secure work for people in the process. I know that action on climate change is good for jobs, good for lowering energy prices and good for lowering emissions.

Cheaper, cleaner power. Jobs, jobs, jobs!

Action on climate change doesn't cost jobs; it creates them. This Morrison government is frightened of the present and terrified of the future. Australia needs a government that has ambition to seize those opportunities, and that is an Albanese Labor Government.