I supported the decision to set a national target of net zero emissions by 2050 as part of a global effort to reduce the impact of climate change.
We need reliable, affordable energy and we also need do our part to protect the environment for future generations.
Our technology-based approach to reducing emissions will require billions of dollars of investment and we are already seeing some of those benefits in our region with large-scale renewable energy projects and trials into producing hydrogen from brown coal.
This work needs to continue with a focus on regions that are most exposed to any economic shocks. Protecting as many jobs as possible in our traditional industries while we transition to new opportunities is the message I’m giving to the Prime Minister.
My focus is always on respecting local workers and families and ensuring there are proper plans in place to provide new job opportunities when some of our traditional roles are replaced with new industries.
The government has already made substantial investments in clean energy technology, with over $10 billion invested in more than 670 clean energy projects (total project value in excess of $35 billion). These projects include the largest pumped hydro scheme in the southern hemisphere, Snowy 2.0, hydrogen demonstration projects and bio-fuels. These investments are supporting new jobs, reducing power prices and improving the reliability of our electricity grid while lowering emissions.
Investment in low emissions technologies that strengthen our economy and support jobs and businesses are a priority of the government on the road to recovery from COVID-19, and to help Australia reduce global emissions. We are also focusing on technologies that allow Australia to capitalise on opportunities to develop new industries and jobs; and position us to support our trading partners’ plans to reduce emissions through the export of low emissions technologies, energy and other products.
The first Low Emissions Technology Statement, announced by Minister Angus Taylor, concentrates on accelerating uptake of new and emerging technologies.
The $1.9 billion investment package creates jobs and brings new technologies into play. This package is focused on unlocking new technologies across the economy to help drive down costs, create jobs, improve reliability and reduce emissions in hard to abate sectors.
Furthermore, it will support our traditional industries like manufacturing, agriculture and transport.
I acknowledge there is more to do and our role in a sustainable environment goes beyond reducing our own emissions.
The Prime Minister returned from COP26 where he outlined our plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 while protecting regional and rural communities. He stated that we will act in a practical, responsible way to reduce emissions while preserving Australian jobs and taking advantage of new opportunities for industries. Our emissions are more than 20 percent down on 2005 levels, while our economy has grown 45 percent over the same period.
As the Prime Minister indicated in Glasgow, the current forecasts are for Australia to achieve a 30-35 per cent reduction by 2030 with our technology-based approach.
Australia has reduced emissions faster than many comparable countries and on a per person basis, we are forecast to achieve a similar or greater reduction than what the US, Japan, Canada, New Zealand and others are simply hoping to achieve at this point.
We are also one of only a handful of countries to set out a detailed plan to achieve our target of net zero emissions by 2050.
As we continue to reduce Australia’s emissions, and work internationally to reduce global emissions, the government is making unprecedented investments in climate adaptation and resilience including $5 billion through the Future Drought Fund, $4 billion in joint Commonwealth and state funding for the Great Barrier Reef, $600 million for the Preparing Australia Program to deliver long term disaster risk reduction and resilience, $210 million for the Australian Climate Service and $149 million through the National Environmental Science Program.
Our new $804.4 million Antarctic funding includes direct funding for Antarctic ice sheet research to understand sea level impacts.
Australia has also established a new National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy 2021-2025 to guide our actions, and has supported scientists in writing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.
The feedback from our community is overwhelmingly constructive. They want to do their bit for the local environment and the planet, but they understand that these are global issues and Australians cannot solve the problems in isolation.
To that end, I support viewing the climate change issue as a social, economic and environmental challenge, with opportunities for new jobs.
I also support investing in ‘more boots and less suits’ to do the practical environmental work that our communities need to stay safe. Fuel reduction burns, hazard removal, indigenous burning techniques, asset protection, pest plant and animal control, replanting and biodiversity work all require more boots on the ground.
In the same vein, I support major upgrades for regional public transport to improve mobility for older Gippslanders, people with disabilities, and young people, while also reducing individual transport emissions.
And I support further investment in new technologies in regional communities to reduce emissions from energy generation while securing reliable and affordable electricity or our nation.
To do all that, we need a long-term strategic plan for regional Australia, along with specific detailed strategies for individual regions like Gippsland, to guide and attract public and private sector investment.
I wrote an opinion piece for the Herald Sun which was published on July 1, 2021 titled Nats must leave 1950s behind to stay relevant which may be of interest. Herald Sun Article