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Tuesday, 27 October 2020
Page: 8366

Mr SIMMONDS (Ryan) (15:49): Like the minister and the member for Goldstein, it is my great pleasure to talk on this MPI today and to talk about the record of Liberal-National governments when it comes to environmental management, because, like them, I would pit the record of the practical achievements of Liberal-National governments when it comes to managing the environment against the virtue signalling and grandstanding of Labor, the Greens and the Independents any day of the week. Those opposite are all talk and no action.

Many of the great environmental achievements in our nation to protect, preserve and value our environment occurred under Liberal, not Labor, governments and not the Greens or Independents. It was the Menzies government that signed the Antarctic Treaty, preserving that pristine environment for future generations. It was John Gorton who established the Office of the Environment and who banned drilling and mining on the Great Barrier Reef. It was the McMahon government that appointed the first minister for the environment, Peter Howson. It was the Fraser government that banned whaling in Australian waters, a coalition government that declared the Great Barrier Reef a marine park, a coalition government that banned sand mining on Fraser Island and under which Kakadu and south-west Tasmania were made World Heritage areas. It was the Howard government that established the mandatory renewable energy target in 2000 that created incentives for investment in renewable energy. It was the Howard government that established the climate action partnership between Australia and the United States, that initiated collaboration on climate change with Japan and that signed bilateral climate change agreements with China, New Zealand and the European Union. It was the Howard coalition government that established the Natural Heritage Trust, and it was the Howard coalition government that established the Australian Greenhouse Office. It was a coalition government—not Labor, not the Greens and not Independents—that passed the first Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

We on this side of the chamber are the custodians of legislation that has guided the environmental management of our nation. It was the Howard government that increased the green zones in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park from five per cent to 33 per cent, the world's largest representative network of protected marine parks. It was coalition governments that took direct action that enabled us to meet and beat Australia's Kyoto emissions targets when so many other nations around the world were failing to meet the same targets, despite all of their big talk. They weren't meeting their targets, but this coalition government was just getting on with doing it. It was our government that set the new Paris aligned target of 26 to 28 per cent emissions reduction on 2005 levels by 2030. It is our government now that is on track to meet and beat this 2030 target. Finally, it is this coalition government—not Labor, not the Independents, not the Greens—that established the position of a dedicated assistant minister for waste reduction, who is here in the chamber, who yesterday passed Australia's first Recycling and Waste Reduction Act, the first such act that Australia has seen, despite, as the member for Goldstein said, the political games of those opposite, who sought to simply obfuscate and delay its package with silly political games. It is the priority of the Labor members, of the Greens and of the Independents to play those silly games. We on this side of the chamber, coalition governments, are happy just to get on with protecting and managing our environment.

It is Labor and their mates in the Greens that are the prophets of environmental doom and gloom and of crisis and emergency and that are the foretellers of death and destruction, yet when they are in government, what is it that they achieve for all of this rhetoric that they give to the Australian people? They give us broken promises on a carbon tax, a scheme that, for all their grandstanding, the Greens failed to support. They give us pink batts. They give us recycling and clunkers for cash. Labor members gave us targets at the last election that were uncosted. They had no idea of how many Australian jobs it was going to cost to achieve those targets. Now they would say to everyday Australians that they are environmental vandals just for lighting their gas stove or expecting cheap and reliable energy to see their goods manufactured or their businesses survive. Everyday Australians won't wear the rhetoric of the Labor members opposite. They know they don't have to choose either the environment or the economy. They know that this coalition government will both protect and manage our environment and protect and manage our economy and keep Australians in jobs.