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Budget 2019-20 - Climate Emergency Funding

23 May 2019

Ms O'CONNOR question to TREASURER, Mr GUTWEIN

The devastating climate-induced bushfires of this past summer have knocked a hole in your budget in the order of tens of millions of dollars. With an El Niño summer on the horizon and more fires a certainty, have you made sure this is a climate-ready budget? What are you doing to respond to the climate emergency to ensure our infrastructure, housing and health system and councils at the front line of the climate emergency are ready for a future which is already here?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for that question and her interest in this matter and I commend her on wearing Liberal blue today; it is fantastic.

Ms O'Connor - It's not Liberal blue, it's sky blue.

Mr GUTWEIN - The point should be made that this Government has done more for bushfire mitigation than any government before us. We have stepped up to the plate and invested money and done more to protect communities and our assets than any other government before us.

The fuel reduction burning program and the use of predictive modelling, as well as the way we have introduced our emergency management plans, ensure that this state is safer than it has ever been before. It is this Government that has done that, not you. When you were in government with the Labor Party you worked together to stay in government by shutting down the economy, shutting down the forestry industry, taking us into recession and costing the state tens of thousands of jobs.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker. The Treasurer is misleading the House. The world was in a global recession and the forest industry was in downturn going back to 2006.

Mr FERGUSON - On the point of order, Madam Speaker. That is entirely disorderly and not a point of order.

Ms O'Connor - The Treasurer was misleading the House.

Madam SPEAKER - I am ruling it out of order. Proceed, Treasurer.

Mr GUTWEIN - Madam Speaker, I can understand why the member would want to shut me down on that basis. We were the only state that went into recession in that period. That is when you were in government and Labor was clinging to the Treasury benches by having two Greens in Cabinet who were developing policy for them. That policy, as you well know, was to lock up more land and shut down the forestry industry. That is a statement of fact. As a result, we went into recession, 10 000 jobs were lost at its peak and the budget had red ink all over it.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker, under standing order 45, relevance. What we are asking here is how much preparation the Treasurer has made for the climate emergency in this Budget?

Madam SPEAKER - It is not a point of order and I believe he is answering it.

Ms O'Connor - Just say the word 'climate'.

Madam SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Connor.

Mr GUTWEIN - I was making the point that this Government is more prepared than any government before it because we have invested significant amounts of money to ensure that we have a bushfire mitigation plan to reduce the risk for both our assets and our people, which is exactly what we should do. When the member was in the previous government the aims of the day - and you full well know that this is a statement of fact - were to shut down the forestry industry and lock up more land and, as a result, it cost the state by going into recession and it cost us 10 000 jobs. That was the net effect of when you were in government. You did not introduce a bushfire mitigation program. In fact, all you used to do was whinge about the smoke.

In wrapping up, I will be bringing the Budget down this afternoon at 3 p.m. and it will be a budget that will maintain momentum and investment for growth. It is a budget that will create jobs and, importantly, it will invest record amounts into health and education and looking after the most disadvantaged.