Climate & Energy PolicyHetty Johnston
We must look after Australia and the earth we live on. This big, wide, beautiful brown land we live on is under threat by our behaviour and disinterest. We need to do more.
There are ways to support our environment, manage energy as well as increase jobs, the economy of small towns and the nation. This is not simply a case of this or that. We are clever enough to do both – Australians are resourceful, particularly when our back is against the wall.
If elected, I will push for the koala to be entered onto the Endangered species list. I believe the koala is critically threatened and in urgent need of our protection. As one of our most loved and recognised animals, we cannot stand by and let its habitat be destroyed.
I believe our Great Barrier reef mustbe beyond politics and that its protection and preservation should be the priority consideration in every project impacting on the north coast of Queensland.
Australia needs to move to renewables, to stem the production of greenhouse gases and to invest in renewables but equally, it must retain reliable base-load power.
Australia cannot afford to walk away from continuing to support coal fired power generation until such time as renewables can prove a reliable source of the baseload power our families, business and industry require. We are not there yet.
If a disaster strikes, as happened in Adelaide, we need to know that at least our hospitals and emergency services will have power, that our elderly and vulnerable will be able to function, that emergency and life sustaining equipment continues to operate and that there is sufficient baseload power to ensure our fridges and freezes can be powered. Particularly in the face of a changing climate that is bringing increasingly unpredictable natural disasters.
I support the short-term continuation of financial support to keep our coal-fired power stations operating and for them to be upgraded to clean coal power generation until such time as we can be 100% assured that renewable energy generation can fulfil the demands of industry and the community at all times and particularly, in times of crisis.
I also support continuing to invest, innovate and build a strong renewables sector driven by our brilliant and innovative scientists, academics, researchers and entrepreneurs. Surely, with all the sun, wind and hydro energy we have at our disposal, Australia can become the leader of innovation and disruption in the renewable sector – internationally.
Coal and the economy
The world is slowly moving away from the use of fossil fuels and I believe that is a good thing.
However, this move to other energy production is a relatively new one and the journey to perfection will be long. It is important that people all over the world have reliable power until such time as we refine a replacement that can meet contemporary demands. Australia too must move away but it must do so responsibly in terms of economic, social and environment impacts.
Mining contributes 8.5% to Australia’s GDP. Regional towns rely on mining jobs. Small businesses in those towns also rely on those mines. We need to find a replacement for that income before we abandon it and we need to ensure baseload power continues until then. Over 200,000 jobs are tied to the mining sector and these jobs represent real people in real communities who have real needs.
I believe a greater push and incentives to decentralise Australian jobs will assist to bring new jobs and sustainable improvements to local economies in the regions. I believe we should properly consider the impacts of halting coal mining before we cement policy that would aim to achieve that outcome.
I remain concerned that we cannot trust Adani with our precious and fragile Great Barrier Reef, waterways, underground aquifers or surrounding natural environment.
Adani’s environmental and social reputation is appalling. Although they appear to have met most of the environmental guidelines (on paper at least) their history tells us that we risk too much in trusting them to fulfil these obligations.
We know, however, that they have promised a lot of jobs in the Central Queensland. I would like to see the actualnumbers of those jobs and for how long they will exist. I am committed to working to increase long-term jobs across Queensland, particularly in our regional, rural and remote regions, but am worried we are not being told the whole truth.
I do not support the Adani Coal Mine.
Climate change is real and is one of our greatest challenges. We need to support the business, farming and mining sectors as they adjust to new technologies and operational imperatives. However, we must hasten steadily and slowly and be sure our actions are guided by research and are evidence based rather than driven by political ideology or fear mongering.
Too our response needs to be more visionary than simply power generation. At the same time our governments are talking about opposing Adani they talk up widening major motor vehicle transit corridors, costing tens of billions of dollars but are not matching that expenditure with increased funding for public transport. The response to global warming must be holistic, it must be genuine and it must be an agreed plan between the major parties to eliminate political opportunism, hijacking what is a critical issue facing not only Australia, but the planet. It is critical for our future, our children’s future. We cannot get this wrong.
Waste and recycling
Pollution from manufacturing including packaging and waste needs to be addressed. Every Australian needs to engage and support the war on waste. We need to consider how we consume, how we dispose of waste and what our purchasing patterns really mean.
Industrial recycling of paper, glass, metals and plastics presents a massive opportunity for future business development in rural and regional areas which would provide sustainable jobs and therefore stable local economies.
If elected, I will work towards building a better, more efficient recycling system in Australia – including encouraging our clever researchers and entrepreneurs to create innovative ways to lessen waste and reuse what we’ve already created.
I believe that this approach is very much a part of our efforts to reduce carbon emissions and pollution of our air, land and water. The Australian Government has a responsibility to support this new industry as part of an holistic global warming response.