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MEDIA RELEASE: Business and health sectors push for Climate Change Bill to ensure sensible risk management of climate impacts

27 January, 2021

Business and health sectors have called on the Government to adopt Zali Steggall MP’s Climate Change Bill, arguing it offers sensible risk management for long-term economic and health impacts of climate change.

As US President Joe Biden makes clear that climate change policy is a priority, the inquiry into the Climate Change Bill has received over 6500 submissions from business groups, environmental groups, eminent Australians and concerned members of the public wanting a clear, science-based pathway to Net Zero.

Zali Steggall MP said the number of submissions to the inquiry, of which only 10 per cent have been made public to date, shows how broad the support is for a sensible plan to tackle emissions reduction and management of climate change risk.
“The world is heading to Net Zero by 2050 led by US President Joe Biden. It’s time Prime Minister Scott Morrison sets Australia on the right path,” Ms Steggall said.

“Dragging this out and delaying significant emissions reduction will only cost more and increase risks to our communities. This comes as the Coalition is once again hampered by internal party politics and its climate denying members.

“The inquiry’s two public hearings offer a significant opportunity for the public to hear from the private and public sectors on how climate change will affect our everyday lives and future, isolated from political games or election campaigns. As we have seen in the UK, climate change policy can be bipartisan.”

The two public hearings of the inquiry will be held on Friday 29 January and Monday 1 February that will hear from organisations and individuals including:

• The Property Council of Australia
• The Climate Council of Australia
• Local Government NSW
• Dr Will Steffen
• Australian Industry Group
• Planning Industry Group
• Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA)
• WWF Australia

Property Council of Australia submission excerpt
“The property industry has already recognised this challenge and is committed to playing its part in reducing national emissions. To achieve maximum emissions reduction at least cost, the Commonwealth must put in place long term targets and policies to support emissions reduction efforts in every sector.
A long-term target of net zero emissions by 2050 with staged interim targets and progress reviews is an appropriate and necessary step for the Commonwealth. This will provide policy certainty for industry and time to progress innovative research and technology.

The business community is already acting to address the threat of climate change with investors increasingly aware of the risks inaction poses to long term productivity. As of 2020, nearly 60% of the world’s 100 largest public companies support the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), report in line with the TCFD recommendations, or both.

Australian Medical Association submission excerpt
“The proposed legislation presents a significant opportunity to protect public health in Australia with a considered and tangible response to the impacts of climate change. The AMA again urges all members of parliament to consider and adopt the Bills.

Climate change is a health issue and one which poses an emergency for the Australian community. Just as Australia has responded well so far to COVID-19 by relying on scientific evidence, it must do the same in responding to the health emergency that climate change poses.”

Law Council of Australia submission excerpt
“The Law Council considers that the Substantive Bill would assist to “rule a line” under decades of national policy uncertainty and politics associated with responding to the changing climate and its associated impacts. It offers an opportunity to all Australian governments, business and the community to contribute to a comprehensive and transparent response to Australia’s international obligations.”

Osher Günsberg submission excerpt
“Ignoring the blazing-hot facts about not only the locked-in environmental changes we will face in the coming years but also the very stark economic impacts of a combination of those changes coupled with a complete shift in the global market for our main exports is nothing short of intergenerational theft. The time for us as a nation to stand up and make a change is here.”
“We can wait for the world to not want our coal and gas, or we can radically shift our economy to become a renewable energy super-power.

“The precious battery minerals the world will need lay beneath our feet. The coal that if burned will guarantee us an unliveable planet must stay there. I implore you - for the economic, health, security and welfare of our children and their children, allow MPs a conscience vote on this bill.
“We must act with enormous volition, we must show leadership in our region, and we must enrol the full might of our economy in this direction. Otherwise we risk being left behind in every single aspect of life that we hold precious as Australians.”

Business Council of Australia submission excerpt
“We believe the central issue now is setting a national target of net-zero emissions by 2050 and, critically, outlining a pathway to achieve this goal. The high-level policy framework outlined in the proposed legislation represents an important starting point for the development of a clearly defined, nationally guided and coordinated climate policy response.”

“The proposed legislation adopts a science-based, risk-management approach to addressing climate change (in its objects and other sections) which is aligned with how businesses and their shareholders, increasingly, are responding to climate-related risks. Australian companies and their directors in particular, would be assisted by such a framework in discharging their duties to manage and disclose climate-related risks under general and corporations law. Having a very clear set of government policy ‘goal posts’ would enable company directors to focus their resources and efforts more efficiently with respect to climate-related transition risks.”

“The proposed legislation recognises the importance of ensuring people and community impacts are considered in the low-carbon energy transition. A fair employment transition will create new jobs, drive economic diversification and encourage investments. It ensures environmental sustainability, but also the need to manage the economic and social impacts. The proposed legislation reinforces the need for a collaborative approach that brings together all impacted stakeholders to enable a planned and coordinated transition to net-zero emissions”

For more information go to the Parliamentary Inquiry website:

Climate Act Now website:

For media requests call Sarah Whyte on 0407 790 892