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Tuesday, 19 February 2019
Page: 13898

Climate Change


Ms BANKS (Chisholm) (14:18): My question is to the Minister for Health. Could the minister explain to the people in my electorate of Chisholm and to the people in his electorate of Flinders who are concerned about his role leading to environmental and climate change inaction—

Government members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Banks will resume her seat. Members on my right will cease interjecting—including the member for Bowman. The member for Chisholm will begin her question again.

Ms BANKS: My question is to the Minister for Health. Could the minister explain to the people in my electorate of Chisholm and to the people in his electorate of Flinders who are concerned about his role leading to environmental and climate change inaction what he has actually done to address environmental health issues when the Medical Journal of Australia and countless doctors and health professionals state that climate change inaction, in which he has played a significant role, threatens the lives and health of all Australians?




Mr HUNT (FlindersMinister for Health) (14:19): I could not be more delighted to receive this question from the member for Chisholm on this topic. The reason why is because, when we came into government, we were left with a gap of 750 million tonnes to close our 2020 target. We didn't just close that gap in terms of emissions; we are now 368 million tonnes in surplus. In other words, we have turned around, from Labor's position, Australia's emissions profile for 2020 by 1.1 billion tonnes. But we also inherited a Great Barrier Reef that was on the World Heritage in danger watch list. Labor put it on, and we took it off. We hear the bleating from that side.

Mr Burke interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business.

Mr HUNT: I simply take the Manager of the Opposition Business to the 2012 and 2013 World Heritage Committee statement, which damned Australia's management of the reef on his watch. But you know what? The World Heritage Committee in 2015 praised Australia as a global role model, only two years later, for our management of the reef and, at that moment, took Australia off that watchlist. That was a real achievement. In addition to that—

Mr Burke interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business.

Mr HUNT: the Emissions Reduction Fund, which, I understand, the member has supported throughout her time in parliament, has seen Australia achieve our 2020 targets and has seen projects such as Indigenous savannah management, where Indigenous Australians are able to work in their environment to achieve emissions reduction, to have jobs for themselves and to achieve our targets. As the Prime Minister said at the Press Club, we are achieving our targets. Those targets were set by the people on the other side, the very targets—

The SPEAKER: The member for Chisholm on a point of order.

Ms Banks: On a question of relevance, Mr Speaker. My question went to the environmental health of Australians.

The SPEAKER: Yes, it did, and I listened to the question carefully to check that it was in order. I think that the member for Chisholm successfully linked health to environmental issues but, in doing so, she mentioned climate change very broadly so I don't feel that I should be curtailing the minister while he's on those subjects. The minister has the call.

Mr HUNT: The test of success is whether one is meeting their targets—the very thing that they said to the Australian people that they would do, the pledge that they made to their electors, the pledge that they made to the Australian people. We said we would meet and beat our targets. We are meeting and beating our '20 targets, and these are the targets that were set by the ALP. We are meeting them, we're beating them and we will achieve our 2030 targets in a canter.

Mr Burke: I'd ask the Minister for Health to table the watchlist he referred to given that it doesn't exist.

Mr Hunt interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The Minister for Health will cease interjecting. The Manager of Opposition Business knows full well he can only request a document be tabled if—

Mr Pyne interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House. Anyway, the Manager of Opposition Business well knows he can only—

Mr Conroy interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Shortland, just sort of try and be with the moment, can you? All right? You're about a sentence too late. Anyway. As the Manager of Opposition Business knows, a minister can only be asked to table a document they are referring to, and the minister had no documents in front of him.