Australia will struggle with future crises if it repeats the mistakes of the past when rebuilding from Covid-19, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) said today.

As restrictions on movement relax and governments turn to recovery, the national environment group has warned against propping up dinosaur industries that cause climate change and destroy the natural environment – ultimately endangering our planet’s life support systems.

“At this critical moment in Australia’s history there is a serious risk our governments will be so determined to get everything back up and running quickly that we will repeat the mistakes of the past,” ACF chief executive Kelly O’Shanassy said.

“The pandemic is not the only national crisis to hit Australians this year, coming off the back of unprecedented and deadly bushfires and drought, made worse by climate change.

“Climate pollution skyrocketed after the global financial crisis. After the summer we’ve just experienced, we can’t afford any more climate fuelled damage to our lives or economy.

“The World Bank, the IMF, the International Energy Agency, Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and many others have also called for governments’ coronavirus recovery packages to simultaneously tackle climate change.

“We can take this moment to choose a different path that builds our economy, helps fix the climate crisis and creates a fairer, healthier and more resilient Australia for all, including our children and grandchildren.”

Recover, Rebuild, Renew, released today by ACF, sets out ways governments can:

Recover by creating jobs

  • upgrading all publicly-owned buildings and operations so they are energy efficient and renewable
  • weatherproofing houses across Australia
  • building a residential and business battery storage program
  • building electric vehicle infrastructure across the country

Rebuild by

  • establishing a National Environmental Fund to support wildlife and ecosystem recovery and long-term nature protection
  • creating conservation tax incentives and strong environment protection laws
  • boosting electric vehicles and sustainable transport
  • supporting businesses to invest in solar and storage
  • increasing investment in sustainable industries by reallocating fossil fuel subsidies

Renew by

  • fast-tracking electricity transmission infrastructure for low cost, reliable clean energy
  • funding and supporting shovel-ready energy storage projects, including large-scale batteries and pumped hydro
  • supporting large-scale wind energy generation 
  • expanding electric, public and active transport investment and manufacturing
  • getting Australia exporting renewable energy to the world

Read Recover, Rebuild, Renew

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Josh Meadows on 0439 342 992. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email action@mail.acf.org.au