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Budget 2020-21 - Climate Change


Rosalie Woodruff MP

Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Tags: Coronavirus, Climate Emergency, State Budget

Budget 2020-21 - Climate Change, Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP, 17 November 2020

 

Dr WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for CLIMATE CHANGE, Mr GUTWEIN

The day after you released your first Budget as Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Climate Change, the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO released their State of the Climate 2020 report. The science is in, we are already living in a climate emergency.

The extreme drought and temperature records set last year would be normal conditions in an average year when the world warms 1.5 degree. We will be experiencing longer, more dangerous fire seasons and more frequent extreme weather. Huon Valley residents ravaged by fires in 2019, the apiarists who lost a year's honey and the vineyards that had to bin their vintages have already had experience of that.

This Budget should have tackled the twin crises of COVID-19 and climate together but it failed to do so. While you have adopted some of the Greens' ideas, it does not spend nearly enough on climate adaptation and planning to safeguard communities and wild places. Your Budget also continues to funnel subsidies into the climate-destroying native forest industry. Young Tasmanians expected you as the first Liberal minister of climate change to do everything within your power to protect them from the worsening climate crisis, just as you protected them through the pandemic.

What do you say to vulnerable bush-surrounded communities, to Tasmania's primary producers and, critically, to Tasmania's young people about your climate-failed budget?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Franklin for her question. I do not know whether I should wear it as a badge of honour that we have not taken up all your suggestions. As you and your Leader and I have often remarked in this place, many of them are kooky.

Setting that aside, the member forgets that Tasmania is a leader in climate change action. We will continue to be. We have the lowest per capita emissions of all states and territories and are one of the lowest emitters of carbon dioxide on the planet. We have achieved our target of net zero emissions for four years in a row. The most recent data for 2018 shows that emissions are 111 per cent lower, right now, today, than what they were in 1990. You should be cheering that. As we recover from COVID-19 we have focused on growing jobs and our economy and capturing the economic opportunities that climate change presents.

With the Energy minister, renewable energy, hydrogen and electric vehicles, we have taken one of the boldest positions in the country with the government fleet. This will reduce Tasmania's emissions further.

Project Marinus and Battery of the Nation will support billions of dollars in investment, thousands of jobs and will help the mainland. The mainland is in transition as well. In this Budget we are the first government to provide an emissions loan scheme for large businesses, for large emitters, to take steps to reduce their emissions. We have set a target to transition the government fleet to 100 per cent EVs by 2030. That will underpin a second-hand EV market in the state which does not exist.

There is $15 million for public housing energy efficiency measures to reduce emissions and energy bills for the people who live in those properties.

We are reviewing the Climate Change (State Action) Act and we are reviewing our target with a view to strengthening our legislation, increasing the ambition of our approach.

One matter raised regarded householders. An important part of the question is ensuring they are ready for the coming bushfire season. Our $17.6 million package supports Tasmanians and improves their safety from the threat of bushfires. It includes $8 million for the State Fire Commission, which includes the creation of a new division in the Tasmanian Fire Service to manage the planning and response to bushfires. The Government's $9.3 million fuel reduction program includes $300 000 to provide tips and work with the community to assist them to improve their circumstances.

We have put money into the TasALERT emergency system. The member focused on bushfires but we have put $850 000 towards flood mapping as well.

This Budget takes significant steps forward. I will come back to the nub of the question. It is as simple as this: no matter what we do on this side of the House, unless we shut down the native forest industry you will not be happy. That is the nub of the question. Let me assure you, the damage you did to that industry between 2010 and 2014 will not be forgotten. We have a sustainable native forest industry, one that I am proud of and this side of the House will continue to back.