Labor acknowledges that climate change is no longer a vague or distant threat – it is here and it is having environmental, social and economic impacts that cannot be ignored. We know that human activities are causing climate change and that we all have a role to play in mitigating its effects.
As an island, we are particularly susceptible to sea level rise and the effects of storm surges.
We are familiar with the devastating effect of bushfire on both the built and natural environment, with catastrophic events likely to become more frequent.
Agriculture – one of our most important economic sectors – is likely to experience both positive and negative effects of a warming climate, which all need to be managed.
Tasmanian Labor believes in real action on climate change. The Liberals and their climate-sceptic mates are hopelessly divided about climate change. Only Labor took a comprehensive climate policy to the last Tasmanian election that was good for the environment, good for households, and good for the economy.
What’s the issue?
Tasmania has seen firsthand the impact of increased extreme weather events, including the 2016 floods and the severe bushfires of 2013, 2016 and 2019 – with the latter two events burning significant areas of Tasmania’s World Heritage Area. We have also seen what unprecedented weather variability can do to our energy security, with the energy crisis in late 2015 and early 2016.Warming waters have brought challenges that we haven’t seen in Tasmania before, like Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome.
Our understanding of the causes of climate change has progressed significantly however we cannot stop here: today’s pressing challenge is to explore and forecast the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events and provide effective responses to it.
Despite Tasmania’s obvious strengths in renewable energy and marine and Antarctic research, the state is suffering from a lack of policy commitment from the State Liberal Government.
Like their colleagues in Canberra, the State Liberals have been captured by extreme right wing elements in the party and want to pretend that climate change does not exist.
Not only does this leave Tasmania exposed to the risks of climate change, it prevents the state from harnessing the economic and social advantages that could come from being an early adapter to climate change. This includes investment in renewable energy and innovation in agriculture.
Who’s Labor talking to?
Labor recognises the need to take action on climate change while limiting economic impacts. As such, we will continue to consult widely across the community, including with Tasmanian workers and major industry to ensure policy responses are balanced and effective.
We also welcome the leadership shown by young Tasmanians when it comes to addressing climate change, including at recent climate rallies across Tasmania and the world.
What will Labor do?
Labor is committed to ensuring that Tasmania is a leader in response to climate change. We will continue to work with the energy industry to manage the rising challenges of climate change, emissions reduction and energy efficiency.
Our climate policy will restore a Minister for Climate Change, provide clear policy leadership, establish Tasmania as a leader in addressing climate change, set responsible and achievable targets, harness the energy technology of the future, assist our communities and businesses to adapt to the risks presented by climate hazards, and support climate friendly communities.
We need to assist our communities and businesses to adapt to the risks presented by climate hazards. That is why a Labor Government will direct the Tasmanian Climate Change Office to develop a comprehensive climate adaptation plan in collaboration with our scientific and business community, taking into consideration climate hazards such as bushfires, the recent energy crisis and the disease problems experienced by our marine aquaculture industries.
A Labor Government would undertake a thorough risk analysis across the primary industries sector and make sure that strategies are in place to support farmers through periods of climate variability.