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Tuesday, 2 April 2019
Page: 14476

Ms TEMPLEMAN (Macquarie) (16:02): I recently met with students who weren't taking time off school; they were taking time out of their weekend, on a Friday afternoon, to talk to me about why they care about climate change. These students from Colo High School, Katoomba High School and Bede Polding College put those opposite to shame. They knew more about climate change than anyone I have heard from on the opposite benches. And it was fact; it was science.

They know that Australia is the highest emitter per capita in the industrialised world. That's a fact. They know that carbon pollution levels in Australia are rising. They know that the government's own data shows they've been rising since Prime Minister Tony Abbott and that Australia's on track to miss its own inadequate 2030 emissions reduction target of 26 per cent by a whopping 19 per cent. They know that 2018 was one of the five hottest years on record around the world, followed by 2007, 2016, 2015, 2014. It was the spring of 2013 that caused havoc in the Blue Mountains, in my electorate of Macquarie, with fierce and unprecedented bushfires. It's been a record in Australia this last year too, with 209 weather records beaten.

These students know that the $2.25 billion spent by the government, by those on the opposite bench, have led to pollution going up, not down. They know that their own community of the Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains faces not just fire but also floods that will be exacerbated by the changing climatic conditions. They know that natural disasters already cost the economy $18 billion a year. They can't vote yet, but they know something the government hasn't woken up to: climate change is real; it's a crisis and it requires urgent action. And RFS firefighters know it too. Farmers in Macquarie know it, grandparents in Macquarie know it, the insurance industry knows it and business knows it. Only Labor will deliver the urgent action that we know we need.

Lower power prices are also a stress that families in my electorate face. They are stressing family budgets and creating anxiety for low-income people, and yet 13 energy policies and six years later all we're seeing from this government are power prices going up, up, up. Labor will change that. We can do both, and create jobs. In fact, 70,000 jobs in the renewables sector and 17,000 in the hydrogen sector—that's what our plan will do. Yesterday, the Labor Party announced what is the most comprehensive climate change action plan that's ever been taken to a federal election by a major party in this country's history. That's something we're very proud of. We've done the work, we've listened to business and we've listened to science.

The target that Labor is taking to the federal election is the one we announced in 2015, for a 45 per cent emissions reduction cut by 2030 and net zero emissions by the middle of the century. It's not quite what my students would like to see, but it is a massive leap in the direction that we need to take. It's a position consistent with keeping global warming below two degrees. That's the commitment that another Liberal Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, signed Australia up to at the Paris climate conference in 2015. It is the absolute minimum commitment needed to discharge our responsibility to the kids from Colo high, Katoomba high, Bede Polding and every other school in my electorate.

We're also committed to that 50 per cent renewable energy in our electricity mix by 2030. Renewable energy—and this might shock those opposite—is the cheapest form of new energy. It is also a fabulous job creator. We're committed to cheaper, cleaner power through renewable energy, and we'll do that with rebates for solar batteries for 100,000 households—$2,000 rebates to help build up the market for that product. These are batteries which will make a massive difference to people who already have solar on their roofs.

We'll double the original investment in the Clean Energy Finance Corporation by $10 billion. That will support new technologies. We'll boost clean transport and infrastructure, which make up 20 per cent of Australia's emissions and are one of the fastest-growing sources of pollution. On our electric vehicle policy: we're the only OECD country currently not to have a policy. Those over there should be ashamed of that! Our policy will set a national electric vehicle target of 50 per cent for new car sales. (Time expired)