Media Releases

MEDIA RELEASE The Nationals have no one to blame but themselves

9 February, 2021

Zali Steggall MP says the Nationals don’t want to support net zero by 2050 without a plan but have failed to develop a plan after seven years in Government.

“It’s time the minority of Nationals and climate denying Liberals stop holding up Australia,” Ms Steggall MP said. “The Nationals are trying to paint this transition as a binary choice - jobs or emissions. This is a once in a generation opportunity for Australia to take the lead and prosper. Delaying, arguing over the goal and not stepping forward means jobs and growth missed. It’s time we released the handbrake.

“Farmers are struggling from years of climate induced drought and extreme weather, which we know will worsen over the coming years. Science and farmers are warning that crop yields will decrease and lose vital nutrients leading to food insecurity for our country. Farmers are already planning for this and moving their operations to low emissions technologies and building climate resilience.

“We are an exporting nation and punch above our weight but carving out agriculture or other sectors would also risk our trade. Especially with blocs like the European Union and potentially the United States which are contemplating carbon border tariffs on recalcitrant nation’s carbon intensive goods. The best protection we can implement for our exports is to embrace a transition to net zero by 2050.

“As shown by the evidence presented in the inquiry into the Climate Change Bills, the vast majority of Australians have accepted the need to legislate a net zero goal with clear, five yearly emission budgets to get there. From the banks, to the NGOs, industry, super funds, unions and universities, all have recognised it is a vital step in marshalling collective action.

“The climate doesn’t recognise carving out sectors. It only cares about how much carbon is ultimately emitted. Scientists have been absolutely clear we have overdrawn our carbon budgets and need to urgently reduce emissions otherwise we are tracking for a 3 or more-degree world which would simply be catastrophic for Australian farmers.”

“There are three clear pathways for the Prime Minister: engage in bipartisan discussions on the Climate Change Bill as invited by Labor and the Crossbench; open it up to a conscience vote so that this minority of climate deniers don’t hold climate policy to ransom; or, as a matter of urgency introduce his own bills to legislate net zero by 2050.”

The Climate Change inquiry received over 6500 submissions. It is now in its final stage where reports are being prepared following two days of public hearings.