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Tuesday, 2 April 2019
Page: 14471


Ms KEARNEY (Batman) (15:42): I rise to speak on Labor's plan for swift, comprehensive action on climate change, and I congratulate the member for Port Adelaide for the wonderful work he has done in his portfolio and in compiling this plan. We are experiencing a climate emergency. The year 2018 was one of the five hottest years on record around the world. The other hottest years were 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014. There's a pattern here. In Australia, we experienced the hottest summer on record.

Time and time again we are faced with statistics, reports and damning evidence of the results of this government's inaction on climate change. Under the coalition, we've seen six years of chaos and uncertainty—six years in which the climate emergency has worsened, putting us in a position where urgent action is required. The member for Warringah is, all of a sudden, a convert to the Paris accord. The member for Dickson, suddenly, is not wanting to fund any new coal-fired power stations. But this is not action; this is desperation.

Not a day passes when a constituent doesn't raise their concerns with me regarding climate change. From door-knocking residents, from street stalls, from talking to young kids at schools, from environment groups coming to see me in my office, from family and friends and through the hundreds and hundreds of emails I receive, I know that this is a key issue for those in my community and those around this country. It is one that people, even schoolchildren, feel compelled to take to the streets for.

We stand here today to say that enough is enough. We cannot continue to have governments that ignore the science surrounding climate change, deny the reality of the emergency we are faced with and refuse to take action. Australia is screaming for leadership. It needs a government with a plan to reduce emissions while ensuring that we look after affected workers and communities—a plan to grow the economy, cut pollution and ensure that our future generations are left with a clean, healthy and safe environment.

I am so proud to stand here today as a member of the Labor Party, a party with a plan. A Shorten Labor government will take leadership on climate change. Labor's policy announcements yesterday were groundbreaking. They represent a comprehensive action plan that sets us on a path to meeting our global targets, cooling our environment and resetting Australia on a sustainable pathway. We've recognised that we face an emergency and we have a plan.

We will implement Australia's first national electric vehicle policy, which will tackle transport emissions by setting a national electric vehicle target and introduce vehicle emissions standards. We will reduce pollution over the decades by extending the pollution safeguard mechanism with real incentives for big polluters to reduce emissions. We will ensure that the federal government can intervene to put in protections to stop broad-scale land clearing and will develop and deliver a national forestry summit and forestry strategic plan.

These policies are in addition to our already announced commitments such as investing in renewable energies and batteries. This will help reduce emissions and lower power bills. We'll double our original investment in the Clean Energy Finance Corporation—that's $10 billion—and we will establish a just transition authority to plan and coordinate the impact of closures of coal-fired power stations. This is a vital part of the whole plan. We must bring those vulnerable communities along with us or the division created by any action will allow a vacuum to be created that can too easily be filled by those opposite us, who rely on scaremongering and climate denialism.

Labor is the only party who will deliver on real climate action. As a party of government, we will have the best chance to ensure that Australia no longer lags behind the rest of the world. Our plan will deliver decisive action to reduce our emissions, ensuring we play our part in the global fight against the climate emergency. We have committed not to allow the use of Kyoto credits to cheat Australia's way to meet the Paris targets. Instead, we will deliver strong policies that will ensure we do meet those targets genuinely.

Some say our targets are not high enough or good enough. But, last time we had that argument, we lost the opportunity to have a CPRS scheme, one that would have been in place for 10 years by now. Targets are there to be achieved and beaten. Nothing is stopping us going above and beyond. The key is to start urgently. My office is decorated with knitted corals that have been sent to me by people worried about the Great Barrier Reef. My walls are covered in postcards by children worried about the oceans. My bookshelves are full of climate research sent to me by researchers, and my inbox is full of emails from people worried about the future. I am glad to be a member of the Labor Party who will deliver for these people. (Time expired)