Full motion and transcript below:
That this House:
(1) notes that:
(a) the scientific consensus about climate change, and particularly the role of human activity in driving it, is undeniable;
(b) the case for real and immediate action on climate change has never been stronger; and
(c) renewable energy, when combined with storage, is the most economical method of creating new and reliable power;
(2) recognises that the:
(a) decisions we make now concerning environment, climate and energy policy will have lasting and profound affects for the future; and
(b) transition to a low carbon economy will provide significant opportunities for regional development; and
(3) calls on the Government to:
(a) commit to:
(i) utilising the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility for investments that deliver real benefits to communities in Northern Australia, now and into the future; and
(ii) a considered and integrated energy policy in Northern Queensland that actively supports the transition to a low carbon economy; and
(b) recommit to protecting Australia' s marine resources, like the Great Barrier Reef, from modern and evolving threats, to ensure their economic benefits can be borne by future generations.
In recent months the debate about climate change has once again consumed many occupants of this building. We should absolutely debate the best ways to address, respond and adapt to our changing climate, but the time to debate the very existence of human-induced climate change has well passed. Without courageous action taken right now, my two young boys or their children won't have the time to debate the existence of climate change; they'll be too busy dealing with the disastrous consequences.
There will be more environmental disasters, droughts, cyclones, floods or the destruction of Australia's greatest treasure, the Great Barrier Reef. There'll be more economic and community shocks like those still being felt in Central and Northern Queensland, following tropical cyclones Debbie and Marcia. There'll be more displaced people, particularly from our own region, where many island communities will be forced to seek sanctuary from rising oceans.
It genuinely saddens me to have to say this, but it is the reality. The Prime Minister has failed to unshackle himself from the climate deniers in his own party and those floating on the Senate crossbench. He's failed to address climate change, even though we know that he once believed passionately in it. History does not remember kindly good people who are defined by inaction. Labor is ready and willing to work with the coalition government to create a sustainable environment and energy plan for Australia. We've been leading this policy area in the parliament since the crossbench destruction of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme nearly 10 years ago in the Senate. Back on the day when I saw two Liberal senators cross the floor, we actually saw the member for Wentworth vote for Labor's CPRS. Let's get back to those times when Labor and Liberal had a bipartisan consensus about the imperatives to act on climate change for the sake of future generations. Let's get this done.
If the Turnbull government is not prepared to work with Labor in opposition, a Labor government will be ready with credible policies for immediate implementation once elected. The case for real and immediate action on climate change has never been stronger. Since the Abbott-Turnbull government repealed the carbon tax we have seen more pollution and higher electricity bills—a real double whammy, especially for Australian manufacturers. Labor understands that building the energy capability of the future means more renewables and less coal-fired generation. In fact, renewables in combination with storage is the most economical method of creating new and reliable power.
Without certainty on public policy in this space, we cannot and will not attract the economic environment required for investment. Labor has just announced more new policies to boost renewable energy generation and storage, create new jobs and put downward pressure on power prices. We will modernise the energy market rules to give more power to consumers and create renewable energy zones, as recommended by the Turnbull government's own Chief Scientist. This will drive investment and jobs in the sector. We will change the Clean Energy Finance Corporation's investment benchmark so it can invest in more generation and storage projects.
Our transition to a low-carbon economy will provide significant opportunities for regional development. We have the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to support this—to create future-proof critical infrastructure for our regions. That is what the fund is for. It is certainly not for lining the pockets of the huge multinational Adani corporation. The NAIF was announced more than two years ago and we are still waiting for the government to allocate a single dollar from the $5 billion fund to build job-generating infrastructure in northern Australia.
The only matter before the Commonwealth, before federal Labor and the federal government, is whether or not taxpayers should loan $1 billion through the NAIF to this huge multinational company, Adani. My federal Labor colleagues and I, especially Shadow Minister Butler, are steadfastly opposed to taxpayers' money being given to a multinational company to fund their private sector operation. The Adani project will ultimately live or die on its own, but it certainly has a lot of work to do to convince my fellow Queenslanders and Australians that it will meet its environmental obligations, already signed off by the federal government, and, very importantly, that it also stacks up economically.
Instead of a handout to a billionaire, Labor has committed to use that $1 billion to fund long overdue tourism infrastructure projects. These local Australian businesses employ locals and bring so much to the Queensland economy through the growing tourism market, both domestically and internationally. It is critically important to act on climate change to protect the reef and ensure that its wonder can be enjoyed by locals and tourists and my grandchildren long into the future.
It is also critically important to ensure that our energy market respects the need to transition to a low-carbon economy. No country on this earth will be immune from climate change—big or small, mountainous or flat, ocean frontage or landlocked, it does not matter. It is the government's responsibility to act now. To do otherwise would demonstrate complete moral and political cowardice.