Zali Steggall welcomes Climate Change Bill

8 September 2022

I rise simply to say that I welcome the message from the Senate and I welcome this bill returning amended and strengthened some more by the amendments moved by crossbenchers in the Senate. This is an important step, and it's very important for the Australian people not to be caught up in the political games and the rhetoric that exists in this place.

The reason why we have an energy crisis and rising energy costs is that for too long we have denied what needs to happen. We have failed—the coalition failed for too long—to implement policies to ensure that we are at the forefront of the energy transition. Let's be really clear: the cost-of-living pressures are directly impacted by global warming and climate change. Insurance premiums are escalating and rising rapidly. We need to address that. That has a direct impact on households and their cost of living. Food supplies are all directly impacted by climate change and global warming events. The only way we will have domestic fuel security is if we electrify transport as rapidly as possible, and that requires electrification and transitioning to renewable energy as fast as possible.

I welcome the message from the Senate and the bill as amended. I want to thank the Australian communities that have asked both sides of politics since 2019 to legislate Australia's commitment to net zero by 2050. They got behind the climate bill that I presented in the last parliament, and they support this bill, because we need that certainty of legislating net zero by 2050.

The Minister for Climate Change and Energy is well aware of my position—that I want to see greater ambition—but I recognise that this is a start. It is a good start, but we need to make sure we increase that ambition and accelerate that emissions reduction as soon as possible. We are on track to exceed two degrees of warming. This reduction is not enough. If we're going to be consistent with the Paris Agreement, we need to ensure we reduce emissions at a greater rate. We have the technology. The Australian people want to see it happen. You need to be brave and embrace the opportunity. That does mean not approving more fossil fuel projects, and that is something that I look forward to having more discussions about, but, for today, this is an important day. Let's be really clear: this does provide policy certainty for businesses and for investment—to know that Australia is committed to reducing emissions, being in step with the rest of the world and embracing a net zero world.