I second this bill and I do so secure in the knowledge that I’m standing up for the economic future of regional Australia.
Over the past few weeks and months members of the National Party have made all sorts of outrageous, fear-mongering claims about the future of our regions. They’ve called for $250 billion of government money to pay big fossil fuel companies to continue to pollute.
That’s $30,000 for every regional Australian that we could be putting towards hospital beds, more doctors in the bush, the NBN or the elimination of blackspot mobile phone problems.
But the Nationals’ big vision for regional Australia is subsidised coalmining.
They’ve said that there are no jobs in renewables. But there are thousands of good jobs in renewable energy right now across Australia.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Zimmerman): The assistant minister on a point of order?
Mr Howarth: Yes, on relevance. We’re not here to talk about the Nationals; we’re here to talk about this bill.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I encourage the member for Indi to focus on the matters relating to the bill.
Dr HAINES: Absolutely—I will be delighted to.
There are thousands of good jobs in renewable energy in right now across Australia, and we could grow hundreds of thousands more in export oriented manufacturing if we were smart enough to capture the endless, low-cost renewable energy that shines down upon our continent every single day. We are on the precipice of another gold rush but, instead, the government is looking to keep us in the Bronze Age.
Setting the goal of net zero emissions by 2050 and putting in place smart policies that cut emissions quickly is the single best thing we could do to drive the economy in the regions.
To meet our domestic electricity needs whilst also growing new clean export industries, Australia will need to quadruple our supply of electricity and switch it all to renewable sources. That will mean hundreds of billions of dollars invested into regional Australia.
We know that the world is moving to things like green hydrogen, green steel and green aluminium, and I believe that instead of importing them all from other countries we should be exporting these products from regional Australia to the world.
The bill before us sets out a framework through which we can pursue this bright economic agenda.
It sets out in law a commitment that the vast majority of Australians support: that we will decarbonise our economy by the middle of the century. And it requires the government of the day to set out detailed plans to meet those legislated emission reductions targets.
I’ve worked closely with the member for Warringah to make this bill robust and to make sure that this bill will deliver for the regions.
I’ve inserted a regional economic safeguard mechanism that requires the new climate commission to make sure that regional Australia secures an equitable share of the economic benefits of zero net emissions.
And I’ve inserted a ‘regions first’ clause that require the climate commission to implement a strategy to maximise the economic benefits for rural and regional Australia, and I’ve inserted a ‘regions at the table’ rule that says that the board of the new climate commission must have expertise in regional development.
As a regional Australian who wants to see my region thrive long into the future, in my short time in this place I’ve put in the work inside here and with my community to develop sensible, considered policies like this one.
While the member for Petrie would rather that I not mention the National Party, I have to think: in eight years—eight years—what have they actually done to tackle the climate problem in regional Australia?
What have they done for the farmers? What have they done for the regional jobs in our towns?
I’m proud to second this bill.