August 4, 2022

Regional Australia to benefit after Haines successfully amends Climate Change Bill

Independent Federal Member for Indi Helen Haines has successfully amended the Government’s Climate Change Bill, ensuring regional Australia is explicitly considered in future government climate policy.

The Government’s Climate Change Bill passed the House of Representatives of Thursday after being amended by Dr Haines and other members of the crossbench. The House voted 89-56 in favour of Dr Haines’ amendment.

“This is a victory for regional Australia and its impact will be felt for decades to come,” Dr Haines said.

“These changes mean the Climate Change Authority will be required to ensure that any measures to respond to climate change will boost economic, employment and social benefits in regional and rural Australia.

“The regions will be explicitly considered when setting new emissions reduction targets and the minister must address the economic, employment and social benefits to regional Australia in the annual statement on emissions reductions.”

Expertise in regional development will also be an eligible qualification for appointments to the Climate Change Authority.

“These measures will put regional Australia in the drivers’ seat. They will hold this Government and future Governments accountable to regional Australia and make sure we experience the benefits we know are possible from action on climate change.”

Despite being in isolation after testing positive to COVID-19, Dr Haines worked successfully with the Government and members of the crossbench to move the amendments, particularly with Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie who moved the amendments drafted by Dr Haines.

“I am grateful to the Member for Mayo for moving the amendments on my behalf and to the Government for agreeing to them in the good faith with which they were put forward. I am disappointed members of the Coalition who purport to represent regional Australia did not support my amendments,” Dr Haines said.

“By voting against these amendments, the Coalition voted against jobs and investment in the regions, and put party politics above their own communities’ interests.

“Regional Australians are not stuck in the last century, but the Nationals are. As an Independent, I didn’t follow a party line dictated by dinosaurs, I worked constructively with the Government of the day to improve legislation.

“Once again regional Australians have only been represented in the Parliament by having Independents there arguing for sensible policy. The Coalition needs to do better.

“This is what I promised the people of Indi I would do, and what I will continue to do throughout the life of this Parliament. This is not the end on action on climate change. There is still so much more to do. And I will work every day to make sure regional Australia becomes the renewable economy powerhouse I know it can be.”

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