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Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Page: 137

Climate Change

Ms BANKS (Chisholm) (14:36): My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Would the minister update the House on the coalition's progress on delivering on the Paris agreement on climate change? Would the minister outline how the international agreement is in Australia's national interest?

Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinMinister for Foreign Affairs) (14:36): I thank the member for Chisholm for her question and I congratulate her on her election to this place. I have campaigned with her and she will make a fine representative for the people of Chisholm.

This afternoon the Turnbull government will table the Paris agreement on climate change to enable consideration by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties to hopefully enable ratification of this historic agreement by the end of this year. Ratification by Australia will demonstrate our firm and enduring commitment to tackling the global challenge of climate change. Members will be aware that on 12 December last year all 196 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change signed onto the Paris agreement. The Australian government played a significant role in negotiating that agreement. Indeed, I chaired what was known as the umbrella group of the non-EU developed economies, including Japan, Canada, Russia, the United States and New Zealand—and I am delighted to see Minister Bennett here today. She confirms that New Zealand has also recently tabled the Paris agreement for consideration by the New Zealand parliament.

Our 2030 target of reducing Australia's contribution to global emissions by 26 to 28 per cent from 2005 levels was in line with other developed economies and it is already apparent that the initiatives that we have put in place are reducing emissions—without putting a tax on electricity and driving up electricity prices. Australian businesses are already taking advantage of the opportunities presented by a global lower carbon economy, whether it be in renewable energy technologies, cleaner transport systems, sustainable cities or indeed agricultural productivity.

We are also focusing on helping our friends in the Pacific. The Prime Minister announced in Paris a commitment to $1 billion over five years for climate finance to support our friends in the Pacific for sustainable communities and sustainable economies. We are also using our position as co-chair of the Green Climate Fund to ensure that there is a focus on the Pacific, on our region, and we have already ensured that $200 million worth of funding from the Green Climate Fund will be directed to the Pacific. I can assure members of this House and members of the Australian public that ratifying the Paris agreement on climate change is in Australia's national interest.