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Premier’s Climate Change Hypocrisy

5 Jun 2017

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens' Leader and Climate Change spokesperson

On the same day as he released the government's review into the floods of June and July last year, the Premier dismissed the Greens' concerns about the lack of leadership on climate change.

This year, for the first time in many years, there is no Estimates time allocation for scrutiny of the climate change portfolio.  It's ironic, given last week the Environment Minister released the government's Climate 'Action' 21 plan.

Clearly, they are embarrassed by the plan's lack of substance and want to avoid scrutiny on its contents.

The fires, then severe floods, of last year are connected to a changing climate and scientists tell us we will experience more extreme weather events, of increasing intensity in the future.

In his advice to government, former Auditor-General, Mike Blake, found there is a need for improved responses, and recommends the establishment of a Flood Policy Unit.

If the Hodgman government wants to protect Tasmanians from the effects of accelerating climate change, this Unit should be put in place as a matter of urgency, in the Climate Change Office, but we believe it should be a more broadly and well resourced focussed Adaptation Unit.

When the Liberals came to office, they abolished the Climate Change portfolio, abolished the Tasmanian Climate Action Council and tore up the former government's comprehensive 'Climate Smart' 2020 action plan. Soon after they announced plans to pursue the burning of native forests for energy, in 'forest furnaces'.

In this year's estimates schedule, the Liberals removed the last bastion of pretence, the half an hour questioning on climate change.

Any future-thinking, responsible government must prepare for climate change. The Hodgman Government, however, is so plagued by conservative ideology, they refuse to take climate seriously and better prepare Tasmanians for devastating climate events, such as last year's floods.