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Where is Groom's Climate Change [in]Action Plan?

13 Jan 2017

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

After three years in government, following devastating climate-related bushfires and floods, the State Liberals are yet to produce a climate plan to prepare Tasmania and its people for a warmer future in a carbon constrained world.

While every other government initiative, no matter how small, is received with overwhelming self-congratulation, Matthew Groom's 'Climate Change Action Plan' seems to have slipped off the radar.

As soon as they took office, Premier Hodgman removed the climate change ministry from his Cabinet, then Mr Groom sacked the Climate Action Council and scrapped the substantial, consultative work of the Labor Green Government.

Mr Groom promised to deliver the 'Climate Change Action Plan, 2016-21' by the end of September last year.  It's now 2017, four months later, and we are one year in to an Action Plan that does not yet exist. 

This is a government whose Ministers barely utter the words 'climate change' for fear of upsetting their climate-denying membership, or actually do something about the challenge.  As a result of their inaction and politicking, Tasmania stands substantially unprepared for climate change.

Released more than a year ago, Matthew Groom's draft Action Plan was a bundle of motherhood statements lacking in substance.  It made no mention, for example, of the need to retain and increase landscape and forest carbon stores.

Climate change is already hitting the Tasmanian economy hard.  Last year's fires and floods devastated residents, but also tourism operators and primary producers.

The impact of climate change and strategies to build resilience and self sufficiency are critical issues for Tasmania's social, economic and environmental wellbeing in the future.  

Responsible, future-focussed governments have a responsibility to apply a climate lens to all policy, and to take substantial action to lower emissions while enabling communities and key economic sectors to adapt to a hotter planet.  

If they can't bring themselves to respond to the moral obligation climate change places on us all, the Liberals should be able to see the value in protecting natural assets that underpin our visitor economy and the economic opportunities of increased renewable energy capacity, carbon farming and a more adaptive, resilient agricultural sector.

To do little more than nothing except threaten to take us backwards by logging carbon rich forests and burning trees for power is a slap in the face to every young Tasmanian who wants to believe in a genuinely brighter, more sustainable future.