The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has welcomed the Federal Senate’s order – moved by the Greens and supported by Labor, the Centre Alliance, Tim Storer and Derryn Hinch – for the Morrison Government to set a consistent schedule for the release of Australia’s climate pollution data.
ACF Chief Executive Officer, Kelly OShanassy said: “This is a good step as it will make it more difficult for any government to hide the reality of Australia’s rising climate pollution by sitting on the data for as long as it wants, then trying to slip it out at times when attention is elsewhere.
“Ultimately ACF believes the government should set a release schedule that specifies a time and date for the public release of this data, as happens with the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ release on the National Accounts.
“One of the well-equipped independent bodies working on climate change, like the Clean Energy Regulator or the Climate Change Authority, should have the responsibility of preparing and releasing this data.
“Australians are already suffering from climate damage and deserve to know whether our government’s policies are working to cut pollution or not.
“The latest data, released in early October, shows Australia’s pollution continues to rise because the Morrison Government does not have an effective climate policy, despite its claims about being able to meet our Paris Agreement targets ‘in a canter’.
“Having timely data released to the public allows these claims to be properly assessed.
“In the past ACF has resorted to using Freedom of Information (FOI) to gain access to this information and our investigations have shown that governments like to bury this data by waiting until a busy time in the media cycle to release it.”
On one occasion the Federal Government sat on almost a year’s worth of emissions data for months after it was ready. At other times the data has been slipped out in the week before Christmas as a Ministerial reshuffle was announced and late at the end of the Federal Budget week. In 2015 the data was released on Christmas Eve.