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Thursday, 16 February 2017
Page: 1387

Ms HUSAR (Lindsay) (10:06): I rise to draw attention to the impact the recent heatwave has had on my electorate of Lindsay. As many members would well know, New South Wales has been on the receiving end of an extraordinary heatwave over the past few weeks. In my electorate we have seen scorching temperatures upwards of 42 degrees, and this past Saturday my community felt that mercury rise to 46.9 degrees—the hottest temperature on record in Lindsay. In fact, over the last 15 days the temperature has climbed, on average, to 34 degrees every single day. I have lived in Penrith all my life, and I can tell you that these temperatures are just not usual. We in Western Sydney have been warned for many, many years that our nation's climate change will have a particularly negative impact on our community. The fact that we sit at the foot of the Blue Mountains, the fact that our area has seen a huge explosion in building developments over the past few decades, the fact that we have seen parklands and bushlands disappear to make way for roads and houses: this has all added up to the extreme heat conditions we now experience.

Research shows that average temperatures in Western Sydney in summer are 4.3 degrees higher than the city because of the urban heat island effect. We have higher average temperatures and we now have more extreme temperature days than our eastern suburbs neighbours. Now is the time to face up to the realities of climate change so that Western Sydney does not face hotter and hotter summers into the future, because temperatures like this are not just an inconvenience; they have serious impacts on the health of elderly people, young people, the sick and the injured, and they have devastating impacts when they lead to bushfires, which we received late last year.

It was shocking to read on Sunday the former Prime Minister's chief of staff, Peta Credlin—those opposite might remember her—admit the massive scare campaign against the previous Labor government's carbon pricing scheme was a complete fraud against the Australian people. She said:

It wasn’t a carbon tax, as you know … We made it a fight about the hip pocket and not about the environment. That was brutal retail politics …

And you wonder why the public is losing faith in our jobs, guys. I hope this admission makes the Liberal members in this place squirm, because what it really represents is a deceit that has forever change the tone of the debate in this country.

Government members interjecting

Ms HUSAR: A once in a lifetime opportunity. And who will be affected by this deceit? Communities like mine in Western Sydney. For the past few weeks we have seen this Liberal government try to blame every issue in the energy market on renewable energy. Time and time again their fearmongering has shown to be false, and yet they continue to push ahead trying to discriminate against renewables and push dirty coal. My community of Lindsay has just gone through an unprecedented heatwave, and today and tomorrow the temperature will again exceed 40 degrees. We desperately need a government in this country that is willing to make the tough decisions to ensure our environments do not continue to become more and more dangerous for the communities that live within them. Let us take Peta Credlin's admissions as a new starting point, guys—maybe that is an option—and get on with the job of securing safe and healthy environments for our future generations.