09 August 2023

 I'd like to thank the member for Ryan for raising this significant matter of public importance. The Albanese government recognises that we are facing a climate crisis, and the need for urgent action after nine years of denial and delay by the coalition is now. That's why we are acting right now to deliver on our road map to address this crisis, driving investment in cleaner, cheaper energy and, in the process, becoming a renewable energy superpower.

We are committed to charting our path to net zero by 2050, nurturing our environment and reaping the rewards that come from embracing renewable energy. That means new economic opportunities, making more things in Australia and creating more rewarding jobs for people across the nation. In tackling the crisis, we also understand that a cleaner net zero emissions future will be significant and that it will bring health and wellbeing benefits. We recognise we must do everything we can to reduce the frequency and intensity of bushfires, floods and heatwaves. These worsening disasters impact not only our communities but our Australian landscape, and they put more pressure on our endangered wildlife. While the Albanese government has set in place a mechanisms to address the climate crisis with purpose and urgency, we must also ensure a smooth transition to renewables and away from gas and coal.

I understand the passion of those on the crossbench who want to achieve net zero emissions right now, but in government we need to set targets that are ambitious and that are also doable. One of the first steps our government took when elected last year was enshrining in law our emissions reduction target of 43 per cent by 2030 along with net zero emissions by 2050. We are 100 per cent committed to achieving these targets. To achieve these legislated emissions reduction targets, we've committed to a national renewable electricity target of 82 per cent by 2030. This ties in closely with our Rewiring the Nation reform, which is all about ensuring a national power grid has the capacity to handle the transition to renewable energy sources. We passed the safeguard mechanism, an important reform which will see Australia's biggest emitters make a contribution to our emissions reduction target and put the country on the path to net zero. And we have removed the tariffs on electric vehicles to make them more affordable. These reforms have been carefully calibrated to strike the right balance. They allow for increases in production and critically ensure that businesses which operate in hard-to-abate sectors can access high-integrity offsets to help meet their emissions reduction requirements.

Further to these reforms, renewables and low emissions technologies will be the priority area for our $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund. This includes more opportunities to build wind turbines, produce batteries and solar panels, develop new livestock feed to reduce methane emissions, modernise hydrogen power and develop innovative packaging solutions to reduce waste.

This is important work that has been recognised internationally by UNESCO, who last week released a draft decision to not list the Great Barrier Reef as in danger. This draft decision cites significant progress being made on issues like climate change, water quality and sustainable fishing—all putting the reef on a stronger and more sustainable path.

Of course, this decision doesn't mean the reef is in the clear. If we don't deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement, every coral reef in the world is vulnerable. But this draft decision demonstrates that our policies are making a real difference. After ten years of denial and delay, Australia is back at the table with our 2030 target, now in line with countries like Canada and Japan. This is climate leadership under the Albanese government.