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Thursday, 26 November 2015
Page: 13918


Mr HUTCHINSON (Lyons) (15:41): The member for Makin has certainly elevated the climate talks in Paris. Indeed, it has been a terribly, terribly trying fortnight for those people. But to suggest that the talks have gone from a climate conference to a peace conference is somewhat testing!

I have learned during my time in this place that you should judge Labor by what they do, not by what they say. In government, they overpromised and under-delivered absolutely. In government, they failed in addressing climate change. In government, they failed in implementing policies that would address our carbon dioxide emissions.

In the Abbott and now Turnbull government, we have one of the most overachieving ministers in the Minister for the Environment. The minister has been pragmatically, methodically, going about putting in place policies that will deliver results—not the job-destroying carbon tax that this country was subjected to under those opposite. I must touch on the presentation that was given by the Minister for the Environment yesterday at the National Press Club. I had an opportunity to hear most of that and I would recommend to anybody in this place and anybody that is listening that they take the opportunity to listen to the minister's contribution yesterday, particularly the questions that were asked after his presentation and the minister's absolute command and understanding of the issues. The way he is managing this portfolio is truly something that all Australians should be very proud of. It is based on five pillars: clean air; climate change, the subject of our discussion today; clean land, of course; clean water; heritage and, more recently, cities.

It was interesting that the member for Port Adelaide, in his speech in this debate, criticised the minister for what is always, in this area, going to be very lumpy data. I almost believe that, instead of yearly data, the shadow minister was seeking a day-to-day update in terms of our nation's carbon dioxide emissions. There was certainly a clear suggestion that there was a carryover of reductions achieved under the opposition in government and that, once we achieve those 2020 targets, it could be used as credit for our 2030 targets. It is logical. It is not ideological; it is logical. It is pragmatic. The whole debate about reducing carbon dioxide emissions should be about policies that work and the result. It is not about ideology. The facts are there for anybody to see. It seems that those opposite are upset that the policies that this government has in place are in fact working. The point is how we deliver and measure those results. The Emissions Reduction Fund is delivering low-cost abatement—92.8 million tonnes in the two reverse auctions that have occurred thus far, at an average price of $13.12 per tonne, which is 500 per cent less than was forecast under the previous government's carbon tax. The Emissions Reduction Fund has had huge benefits for agriculture in rural and regional Australia. Much of the abatement that has been achieved has been achieved with the good work of farmers.

Before I continue, I must also highlight that Australia's target of between 26 and 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, which is the target we will be taking to Paris, absolutely compare favourably with countries such as Canada, Japan, the European Union and New Zealand. Of course, at this point in time, the United States have not set a 2030 target, but they have a 2025 target and, indeed, we are in line with that target. I am looking forward to early next year, when the departmental people will come to work with a number of communities in my electorate to look at ways community groups and local government areas can participate in the Emissions Reduction Fund. This is a really great opportunity. I had the pleasure of meeting with a group at St Marys in the Break o' Day municipality in my electorate recently, and it is one of those community groups that will certainly be participating. (Time expired)