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- Start of Business
- QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
- DISTINGUISHED VISITORS
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(Raguse, Brett, MP, McClelland, Robert, MP)
Home Insulation Program
(Abbott, Tony, MP, Garrett, Peter, MP)
(Grierson, Sharon, MP, Albanese, Anthony, MP)
Home Insulation Program
(Wood, Jason, MP, Garrett, Peter, MP)
(Burke, Anna, MP, Roxon, Nicola, MP)
Home Insulation Program
(Abbott, Tony, MP, Garrett, Peter, MP)
Private Health Insurance
(Gibbons, Steve, MP, Tanner, Lindsay, MP)
Home Insulation Program
(Laming, Andrew, MP, Garrett, Peter, MP)
(Rea, Kerry, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
(Oakeshott, Rob, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
(George, Jennie, MP, Rudd, Kevin, MP)
Home Insulation Program
(Scott, Bruce, MP, Garrett, Peter, MP)
Pensions and Benefits
(Saffin, Janelle, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
Home Insulation Program
(Stone, Dr Sharman, MP, Garrett, Peter, MP)
(Ripoll, Bernie, MP, Emerson, Craig, MP)
Home Insulation Program
(Abbott, Tony, MP, Rudd, Kevin, MP)
Commercial Television: Australian Content
(Price, Roger, MP, Albanese, Anthony, MP)
- National Security
- PERSONAL EXPLANATIONS
- AUDITOR-GENERAL’S REPORTS
- SPEAKER’S PANEL
- MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
- EDUCATION SERVICES FOR OVERSEAS STUDENTS AMENDMENT (RE-REGISTRATION OF PROVIDERS AND OTHER MEASURES) BILL 2009
CRIMES LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (SERIOUS AND ORGANISED CRIME) BILL 2010
CRIMES LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (SERIOUS AND ORGANISED CRIME) BILL (NO. 2) 2010
SAFETY, REHABILITATION AND COMPENSATION AMENDMENT BILL 2010
HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPORT AMENDMENT BILL 2010
HEALTH INSURANCE AMENDMENT (NEW ZEALAND OVERSEAS TRAINED DOCTORS) BILL 2010
- NATIONAL CONSUMER CREDIT PROTECTION AMENDMENT BILL 2010
CORPORATIONS AMENDMENT (FINANCIAL MARKET SUPERVISION) BILL 2010
CORPORATIONS (FEES) AMENDMENT BILL 2010
- CORPORATIONS (FEES) AMENDMENT BILL 2010
- TAX LAWS AMENDMENT (2009 GST ADMINISTRATION MEASURES) BILL 2009
- HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPORT AMENDMENT (UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON) BILL 2010
- HEALTH INSURANCE AMENDMENT (DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING ACCREDITATION) BILL 2009
- SOCIAL SECURITY AND OTHER LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (WELFARE REFORM AND REINSTATEMENT OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION ACT) BILL 2009
- Start of Business
- Greenway Electorate: Infrastructure
- Maribyrnong Electorate: Workplace Safety
Swan Electorate: Australian Organ Donor Awareness Week
Swan Electorate: World's Greatest Shave
- Lowe Electorate: Communities for Communities
Flinders Electorate: Phillip Island
Flinders Electorate: Balnarring Pedestrian Crossing
- Blair Electorate: Springfield Central
- Paterson Electorate: Mr Ron Elworthy
- Calwell Electorate: National Language Curriculum
- Fisher Electorate: Kawana Hospital
- Newcastle Electorate: Colonial Landscape
- Main Committee Clocks
APPROPRIATION BILL (NO. 3) 2009-2010
APPROPRIATION BILL (NO. 4) 2009-2010
- APPROPRIATION BILL (NO. 4) 2009-2010
- QUESTIONS IN WRITING
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
Ms JACKSON (5:12 PM) —I rise to speak on Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2009-2010 and Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2009-2010. As is the tradition, perhaps, with appropriations bills, with a fairly wide-ranging debate, I wanted to focus today on the issue of climate change. This is an extremely important issue to me and to many constituents in my electorate of Hasluck. I recall very well the 2007 election, where the majority of people in my electorate wanted action on climate change, particularly following what had been almost a decade of inaction on climate change. I note that the current opposition—the then government—actually changed its traditional policy position and went to the 2007 election with a climate change policy that included an emissions trading scheme.
I think the debate in 2010 has shifted but I am still convinced that the majority of Australians are concerned about our environment and the challenges of climate change and water. Weather related concerns are part of everyday conversation. Once upon a time we just used to ask about the weather as a way of starting a conversation; now people are very much concerned about the weather. From a Western Australian perspective, we have just experienced the hottest January on record—an average of 35 degrees—and 2009 was the second hottest year in Australia on record. Of course, the last decade was the hottest in Australia on record, hotter than the previous decade. In WA we have had no rainfall for December or January and in most of WA we are having less rainfall, more droughts and water shortages. Across the nation we are experiencing more extreme weather events—storms and bushfires. Australians do feel an obligation to future generations. They are concerned about the kind of country and the environment that we will leave for our kids and our grandkids. We certainly want to leave them with a better and a stronger world.
The stakes in this debate are high. As Rupert Murdoch simplistically described the challenge of climate change and where doubt existed about the science of global warming, he said, ‘Give the planet the benefit of the doubt.’ Taking the critically important step of starting the transformation of our whole economy to a low carbon emission economy is, I think, an absolute necessity for Australia. We need to become a less polluting nation. We need to acknowledge that there is a cost to polluting and we must learn to live greener. We need to invest in and expand on the use of renewable energy for industry and for households.
I am delighted to be part of a government that has increased the mandatory renewable energy target, or MRET, to 20 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020, that has seen significant investment in large-scale solar powered generation and carbon capture and storage, and that has established a scientific framework for climate change research and better ways of investing in it. I am also pleased to be part of a government that sees significant support for energy efficiency, water conservation and living greener—a $3.2 billion investment. Of course, last but not least, there is the creation of a climate change adaptation fund to assist with the management of the impact of climate change. These are just some of the key achievements of the Rudd government so far.
The government has seen not only the ratification of the Kyoto protocol but also the implementation of a $12.9 billion national water strategy. We have seen a $200 million commitment to the Reef Rescue initiative to protect the Great Barrier Reef. We have seen the installation of a record number of solar panels onto Australian rooftops. We have seen the Solar Schools Program. We have seen the $100 million commitment to develop a new smart grid energy network, and we have recently signed the National Strategy on Energy Efficiency with all state and territory governments. The sad thing is, however, that these measures alone are not enough to cut Australia’s emissions, and that is what we must do. As the Minister Assisting the Minister for Climate Change said in his second reading speech, when the CPRS bills were reintroduced to the House:
However, projections show that even with these measures Australia’s emissions will continue to rise, reaching 120 per cent of 2000 levels in 2020.
That is why we need the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme—an effective mechanism to reduce carbon pollution at the lowest possible cost. Cutting and reducing our emissions is the imperative.
The single, biggest flaw in the opposition’s latest alternative policy proposal is that it will not reduce carbon pollution. I am sure many of us in this chamber have seen the Department of Climate Change’s analysis of the opposition’s policy and the graph showing the level of carbon emissions increases if the opposition’s policy is implemented. They have abandoned a policy that previously acknowledged that an emissions trading scheme was and is the best mechanism for undertaking this major economic reform. The Howard government’s climate change report, the Shergold report, as well as the Garnaut review, came to the same conclusion that an emissions trading scheme was the most effective mechanism to reduce carbon pollution and to tackle climate change. The current Leader of the Opposition, in his book Battlelines, acknowledges what the Minister Assisting the Minister for Climate Change and others have pointed out when he says:
The Howard government (in 2007) proposed an emissions trading scheme because this seemed the best way to obtain the highest emissions reduction at the lowest cost.
There is a global scientific consensus that the climate is warming and there is an increasing concentration of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere—in other words, climate change is real and it will inflict severe costs on Australia.
I believe there is also a growing global economic consensus that the cost of inaction on climate change will be greater than the cost of acting now. The two extremes in this debate are represented by, firstly, those who are sceptics—unfortunately, perhaps, overrepresented in the current opposition—and those who claim that drastic change is necessary, even at the cost of jobs and/or of inflicting large cost increases on households budgets. Both views are evident in my own electorate.
To the sceptics, I say that, if you cannot accept the global scientific consensus or the Rupert Murdoch philosophy, surely you must acknowledge that it is desirable for many, many reasons that we reduce the level of pollution our society pumps into the atmosphere and that we conserve our water sources and our forests for the future wellbeing of our community and our country. These are honourable objectives and we should be able to agree to implement these objectives in a way that minimises the adverse impact on families, industry and jobs. I am convinced the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme that is before the parliament is the best way to do this.
At the other end of the debate, there are those who are angry that the majority of Australians are not prepared to take dramatic action. They are angry that pollution is not stopped immediately, despite the cost to industry and jobs, and they are angry that the government’s CPRS does not go far enough on targets or polluters. They say they would prefer no action to the CPRS currently before the parliament. Whilst I am sympathetic to their passionate desire to act now and to bring about rapid change to protect our planet, I reject entirely the notion that no action is better than the detailed policy that is proposed by the government. Given the lack of will to act demonstrated by the majority of opposition members, they may well get an outcome of no action. I cannot see the benefit for the nation in such an outcome.
I am fortunate to have within my electorate Peter Langlands and Jane Genovese. Peter and Jane come to meet with me every six months or so. They are climate change activists who are campaigning for action with great heart, and they are passionate about the future and the environment. During their last visit they presented me with a piece of black coal because they were angry at the agreement that had been reached at that time by the government with the opposition to pass the CPRS. They were angry because they believed the CPRS did not go far enough quickly enough. I urged them to try and understand that the economic transition to a low carbon polluting economy that is needed must happen in a way that cushions Australian households, working families, industry and jobs. I have urged them to try and understand the diversity of views on climate change in our community and I have urged them to understand the reality of the political make-up of the parliament, particularly the Senate—perhaps the most difficult task of all. I think it is a shameful indictment of this parliament that we appear unable to deal with the challenge of climate change in a bipartisan way.
The misinformation that has crept into the public debate and the absurd need for 10-second grabs for modern media on this issue are also extremely unfortunate. I accept that the government’s scheme is detailed, comprehensive and complex, which I believe reflects the nature of the reforms required. To suggest the opposition’s alternative is simple or effective is to completely misrepresent it. I have to comment on the coalition’s recent focus on the so-called cost of the CPRS on households and their attempt to present it as nothing but a tax on households. These comments are hypocritical and opportunistic. It is dishonest to suggest that their own policy will have no cost impact on taxpayers. It is also hypocritical to feign concern for the costs and charges on Australian households when their own party and state government in Western Australia are slugging Western Australian families and households with increased fees and charges. Increased this financial year alone by the Western Australian government were electricity prices, car registration, public transport fees, high school fees, boat registration and boat mooring licences, gas prices, recreational fishing licences, third party insurance, city car parking fees and local government rates.
The infamous Western Australian Treasurer announced in the state budget last May that new household fees and charges would add approximately $334 to household budgets. However, the massive increases in electricity, water, gas, sewerage, landfill and transport prices on top of the loss of the $100 high school subsidy and the $200 It Pays to Learn allowance mean that families will need to find more than $1,000 to foot the bill. Seniors copped it in the state budget as well. On top of electricity, gas and public transport increases, the Liberal-National Party coalition cut pensioner concessions as well. It is almost unbelievable that they did this at the same time as the Rudd government was acting to increase pensions and assist seniors with the cost of living.
The Western Australian Council of Social Services, WACOSS, stated in its recent report entitled The rising cost of living in Western Australia that families on minimum wages have been $31 per week worse off over the last 12 months. That is over $1,600 per year taken out of the hip pockets of Western Australia’s most vulnerable families. The opposition’s word play on costs is opportunistic. Genuine concern would acknowledge the Western Australian government’s fees and charges hike and demand action to remedy it immediately. I ask: what actions are the opposition taking to rein in these cost attacks by their state counterparts in Western Australia on Western Australian households? None. And some of their members are probably already out there blaming the Rudd government and the CPRS.
In contrast, the Rudd government has been open and public about the cost impact of the CPRS and will compensate nine out of 10 households to meet these costs. The contrasts between the current opposition policy and the Rudd government’s plan are stark. As the Minister for Climate Change and Water, the Hon. Senator Penny Wong, said in her opening remarks at the Press Club a couple of weeks ago:
Firstly, our plan caps and reduces Australia’s carbon pollution for the first time ever.
The alternative put forward by the Opposition would see emissions rise by 13 per cent by 2020.
Secondly, our plan tackles the root of the problem by making polluters pay for their carbon pollution.
The alternative lets the biggest polluters off scot free and potentially ties Australian business up in yet-to-be announced red tape.
… … …
And finally, our plan takes the money raised from polluters and provides cash assistance to 8.1 million working families—660 dollars a year on average.
Lower income households get more assistance, and higher income households get less.
The alternative doesn’t deliver a single dollar in assistance to working families. Instead working families bear the cost of new subsidies to polluters, through higher taxes or pared-back services.
In my electorate of Hasluck people are taking individual action all over the place, responding to the challenge of climate change in their own lives and doing their bit to tackle this significant problem. Over 4,300 households in my electorate have taken advantage of the insulation program. We have also seen both the federal and state government fund the Perth Solar City program. Constituents are accessing rebates for rainwater tanks or buying green power or, like some, installing solar panels or accessing green loans.
One example of people accessing green loans are Barry and Karry-leeanne, who live in Gosnells in my electorate. I was pleased to be able to join them in January when their new solar panels were installed. Not only are Karry-leeanne and Barry now a carbon-neutral household, but in the 40 days since they installed their system some 743.4 kilowatts of power have been produced and they are looking forward to a future without electricity bills at all. As a Western Australian I can say that that is probably a good thing, given that the state government has another 22 per cent increase in electricity charges planned for this financial year. I would like to congratulate them for participating in the Green Loans Program and I am delighted that they are so pleased with their solar panels. I urge more of my constituents to take advantage of these programs and opportunities.
I also urge my constituents who have concerns about the CPRS or any aspect of the proposal to consider the very comprehensive information available on the website www.climatechange.gov.au. If you do not have access to the web or would like more information or want to talk through what the possible cost implications are for your household, please come and see me, and I or my staff would be delighted to assist you to access information about the scheme and its potential impacts on your household. I also urge all members in this place as well as in the Senate to weigh up the science, the bipartisan advice and reports regarding the best mechanism for reducing carbon emissions, the future of our planet and the wellbeing of future generations of Australians, and support the introduction of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme at the earliest opportunity.
In the couple of minutes that I have left in this speech on the appropriations bills there are other things that I would like to refer to where my electorate has benefited from increased government funding or government programs. I am delighted to see a significant job being done towards building a stronger community and a stronger Australia for the working families of Hasluck and indeed the rest of the country. I am particularly pleased about the support that we have had through the national stimulus package. Funding has been provided to the Shire of Kalamunda for the Kalamunda Community and Cultural Centre. There has been significant funding, some $2.4 million, for the Swan Riverside Regional Park development. Also, the long overdue upgrade to the interchange of the Great Eastern Highway and Roe Highway has begun. I am looking forward to that being concluded sometime during 2012.
I have already commented on how pleased I am that the federal government have decided to contribute $180.1 million towards the building of the new Midland Health Campus, the public hospital designed to replace the existing Swan District Hospital. The state government indicated that they had a $100 million shortfall. We have provided more than required, and I hope to see construction commence shortly on the new Midland Health Campus. In addition to that, I also congratulate the Minister for Health and Ageing on the terrific job she has done in bringing about the substantial increase in GP training places. This will certainly assist in my electorate and complement the newly funded Midland GP superclinic. I understand that construction of that is due to start in the second half of this year.
They are just some of the projects that I would like to draw to the attention of the House. I could go on, given the schools funding that we are enjoying in the electorate of Hasluck. This afternoon I have tried to cover some of the important issues to me and to the electors of Hasluck, especially those constituted by the challenge of taking action on climate change.