The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has called on the Morrison Government to refocus its attention on cutting climate pollution and restoring our natural world after the appointment of Melissa Price and Angus Taylor to the environment and energy portfolios.

ACF Chief Executive Officer, Kelly O’Shanassy, said there was refreshed concern about Australia’s commitment to climate action following the appointment of Mr Taylor, who has a history of antagonism towards renewable energy, and the Prime Minister’s recent avoidance of climate change when discussing energy policy.

Ms O’Shanassy said Ms Price faced a series of pressing concerns in the environment portfolio that include:

  • detailing how Australia will meet and bolster its commitments to cut pollution under the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • installing mandatory vehicle emissions standards in line with the United States and Canada.
  • helping devise a plan to transition Australia from burning polluting coal and gas to clean energy production and smart storage solutions.
  • immediately rejecting land clearing at Kingvale Station and other similar proposals in Great Barrier Reef catchments.
  • bolstering the inadequate draft National Strategy for Nature.
  • calling in for assessment Adani’s plan to guzzle water at its dirty new coal mine.
  • providing emergency funds for threatened species recovery and habitat protection to alleviate pressure on community groups from successive budget cuts.

“Ms Price has shown welcome interest in the health of our native species during her time as the junior environment minister. But she inherits one of the worst extinction records in the world and a budget unable to address it because of cuts,” Ms O’Shanassy said.

“This problem is made worse by our weak national environment laws that too readily allow the destruction of critical habitat and inappropriate development. Ms Price must begin the process of writing new laws that will actually protect nature, not allow its destruction.

“We were concerned by the Prime Minister’s studious avoidance of climate change when recently asked about energy policy. This ignores the reality that burning coal pollutes our climate and fuels global warming. The solutions to our climate and energy problems are the same – clean energy.

“For too long development of climate policy under the Coalition has been plagued by those who deny the basic science that underpins climate change. New Energy Minister Angus Taylor’s past comments and actions have been part of the problem.

“Australia’s climate pollution is rising. At the same time our communities are being hammered by climate damage – from drought to winter bushfires to coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef.

“Australia’s Environment Minister should be a champion for climate action and work with her colleagues to ensure we have a concrete plan to cut emissions from all parts of our society and economy, especially from energy.

“Our elected representatives have an obligation to protect our communities from climate damage like more extreme heatwaves, droughts and bushfires. This can only be done through concerted global action via the Paris Climate Agreement – with Australia doing its fair share.

“Australians will hold to account elected representatives who fail to break the destructive cycle of ideology and selfish short-term thinking that threatens our safe climate and natural world.”

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Tom Arup on 0402 482 910 or Josh Meadows on 0439 342 992. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email action@acf.org.au.