As a founding member of an environmental group to protect and enhance the Gippsland Lakes, I have a long history of supporting practical environmental projects in our region.
I have successfully organised several community action days to clean up parts of our region and secured grants for local Landcare and community-driven environment initiatives.
Given Australia contributes less than two percent of total global emissions, it’s important to recognise there is no Australian solution to the world-wide challenge of climate change.
I believe Australia needs to do its share, in partnership with other nations, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with our international commitments.
Our government is working to help provide the energy affordability and reliability our community expects, in addition to reducing emissions.
INVESTING IN RENEWABLE ENERGY
Under our Federal Government, we’ve seen an unprecedented wave of investment in renewable energy such as solar, wind and hydro.
One in five Australian households now have solar rooftop panels, the highest per capita uptake in the world.
Wind and solar generation in the National Electricity Market is projected to increase by 250 per cent over the next three years.
Over $25 billion of clean energy investment is already committed in the Australian energy sector from 2018-2020 with a record $13 billion invested in 2018.
Electricity emissions are 15 per cent below a peak in 2005.
To ensure that intermittent renewable energy sources can deliver reliable 24/7 power, we are also underwriting investment in new reliable power generation to improve competition and reduce wholesale power prices by more than 25%.
The Federal Government is investing $1.38 billion in Snowy 2.0, which will be the world’s second-largest renewable hydro power station and increase generation capacity by 2,000 megawatts – enough power for 500,000 homes during peak demand.
We are also backing the next step towards Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation with a $56 million investment accelerating the delivery of the Marinus Link – a second interconnector between Tasmania and Victoria bringing more affordable and reliable electricity to homes and businesses.
Australia will meet its global emissions target (of 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2030).
We have an obligation to protect our environment for future generations. We must also ensure a strong economy, so the next generation can find jobs.
Our Climate Solutions Package will help achieve these objectives. Specific initiatives include:
• A $2 billion Climate Solutions Fund. This will help farmers, small businesses and Indigenous communities reduce emissions, lower energy costs and improve the natural environment. It will build on the success of the Emissions Reduction Fund which has delivered 193 million tonnes of emissions reductions;
• Constructing Snowy 2.0, which will be the world’s second largest pumped hydro renewable power station – providing 175 hours of storage – enough to power 500,000 homes;
• Backing a second interconnector, to bring renewable power from Tasmania to the mainland. This will help Tasmania be the Battery of the Nation;
• Developing a National Electric Vehicle Strategy to help the transition to new technology;
• Helping households and businesses improve energy efficiency; and
• The Cleaner, Greener Local Communities initiative to support local communities to reduce emissions and improve air and water quality.
PROTECTING THE BARRIER REEF
The Federal Government is committed to protecting the future of one of Australia’s natural treasures, the Great Barrier Reef.
The Reef is critically important to the national economy. It contributes around $6.4 billion a year to Australia’s economy, along with 64,000 jobs.
It was this Government that ended all dredge disposal plans and put a ban on future dredge disposal projects in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Our Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan has been endorsed by the World Heritage Committee and praised by the OECD. It guides our work with the community, scientists, industry, farmers and others to boost the Reef’s resilience.
We are investing more than $1.2 billion to ensure the health of the Reef, and more than $2 billion jointly with the Queensland Government.
PROTECTING THREATENED SPECIES
Since 2014, the Federal Government has invested more than $425 million supporting threatened species.
Our Threatened Species Strategy outlines explicit and measurable targets to improve outcomes of 20 priority birds, 20 priority mammals, and 30 priority plants.
The Threatened Species Strategy also commits to the creation of five feral cat-free islands, 10 mainland feral cat-free wildlife enclosures, and the culling of two million feral cats by 2020.
We have appointed Australia’s first ever Threatened Species Commissioner and created a $5 million Threatened Species Recovery Fund.
The Federal Government is investing around $1 billion for the next phase of the National Landcare Program.
This includes the $450 million Regional Land Partnerships, which invests in projects that protect our threatened ecological communities, restore our globally-important wetlands, and support recovery efforts for threatened species.
The Regional Land Partnerships also invests in initiatives that improve soil health on farms, targeting soil acidification, wind erosion and hillslope erosion.
CLEANER AND GREENER COMMUNITIES
The Federal Government is investing over $22 million in a new Communities Environment Program to give communities new opportunities to protect and care for their local environment.
Each Federal electorate will receive up to $150,000 in 2019-20 for community-led projects that deliver real environmental benefits, including restoring coasts, wetlands and waterways, protecting native animals, reducing waste and litter, and greening local parks and urban areas.
The 2019-20 Budget also establishes a $100 million Environment Restoration Fund that will support practical action on waste and recycling, the protection of rivers, waterways and coasts, and further support for our threatened and migratory native species.
Our National Waste Policy sets a national roadmap for action on waste by all governments industry and the community.
We have supported industry in setting ambitious targets for packaging waste and developing a new recycling label, so people have the information they need to recycle effectively.
This includes supporting a phase out of microbeads from personal care and cosmetic products to protect our marine environment and working with the packaging industry to ensure 100% of Australian packaging is recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025.
COMBATING MARINE DEBRIS
Marine debris – such as plastic bags, bottles and discarded fishing nets – is a significant risk to reef ecosystems and wildlife. The Government’s Marine Debris Threat Abatement addresses the impact of micro plastics and explores the role of new technologies in managing waste.
We have invested $5 million so the Tangaroa Blue Foundation can facilitate community clean-up events and other activities in the Great Barrier Reef region over the next five years.
Over half of the plastic in the ocean comes from China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. We are providing $4 million each year to support Pacific Island countries on waste management and pollution control. Australia also cooperates with New Caledonia to manage marine parks in the Coral Sea.
For more information about the Coalition’s Plan for a Cleaner Environment, please visit: http://nationals.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/NatsCHQ_Policy-Document-Environment.pdf