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.
Climate Change and Environment
Labor has a proud record on climate change.
We built the Hydro, which underpins Tasmania’s status as one of the only jurisdictions in the world to have achieved net zero emissions.
We built Basslink, which allows Tasmania to export surplus renewable energy and bring down emissions in other States.
We built the first windfarms in Tasmania, sparking the first boom in renewable energy.
And we introduced the Climate Change (State Action) Act, which set Tasmania on our path to net zero.
But we know there’s much more to be done. That’s why Labor’s five priorities are:
- Delivering the big projects needed to bring down national emissions
- Keeping the Hydro in public hands
- Getting solar on more roofs
- Using the power of Government to speed up climate action
- Working with the Tasmanian community for a safer climate
Only Labor will deliver the big projects needed to bring down national emissions.
Renewable energy should be to Tasmania what mining is to Western Australia.
We have abundant natural resources, a skilled workforce and a history of delivering successful projects.
But if we are to seize this opportunity, we have to build a second undersea cable to the mainland.
The cable will allow Tasmania to export more renewable energy. Without this export capability, new investments in renewable energy and pumped hydro are not viable.
Exporting renewable energy will enable us to help bring down emissions in other States.
The Liberals have demonstrated time and time again they are incapable of delivering major infrastructure. It is no surprise the undersea cable project has stalled on their watch. What is more surprising is the Greens do not support the project. Unconscionably, they are willing to abandon the task of reducing emissions nationwide to appease the anti-development wing of their party.
Labor is the only party that will deliver a second undersea cable, and that means Labor is also the only party capable of sparking a second boom in renewable energy and bringing down emissions across Australia.
Only Labor can be trusted with the Hydro.
Peter Gutwein says he has no plans to sell off Hydro or any of its subsidiaries. But the Hydro website says otherwise.
Labor built the Hydro. We are proud of it. And we will always keep it in public hands.
Labor will get more solar on roofs.
Solar owners have been badly let down by the Liberals.
People who invested in solar in good faith have seen the value of their investment crumble after the feed-in tariffs were cut. Schools that invested in solar were made to return savings to the Department, rather than re-investing the money in their students. And the Government has missed a huge opportunity to help Tasmanians most in need by installing solar on social housing.
Labor will make interest-free loans available to households and businesses up to the value of $15,000 for the installation of battery storage or solar installation.
We will create a $5 million fund to support schools to install solar on their buildings.
And we will put solar panels on all new social housing properties and expand the NILS Energy Saver Loans and Subsidy Scheme to $2 million.
Only Labor will get more solar on more roofs.
Labor will use the power of Government to speed up climate action and mitigation.
The Tasmanian Government can play a leading role in adoption of new climate-friendly technologies and practices.
Unfortunately, the Liberals have been asleep at the wheel.
A Labor Government will transition all suitable Government vehicles to electric vehicles by 2030. This will reduce transport emissions and seed a fleet of second-hand electric vehicles in Tasmania.
We will invest $15 million in a Climate Action Workforce to deliver job-creating projects that will also conserve and protect Tasmania’s unique natural environment.
We will invest $60 million into public transport and cycling infrastructure, to help bring down transport emissions.
And Labor will use the purchasing power of the State Government to support the growth of industries such as recycled road manufacturers that will benefit our environment and help create good new jobs.
The Tasmanian Government can also take action when it comes to climate mitigation.
Labor will enhance our fire service to reduce the risk, prevalence and severity of bushfires. We will invest $40 million in our national parks. We will support the NRMs to continue their good work, we will continue to support Landcare, and we will hire an additional 25 Field Officers and Rangers in our Parks and Wildlife Service.
Labor will work with the community for better climate outcomes.
In the development of the next Climate Change Action Plan, Labor will engage with the Tasmanian community, in every region, to ensure the plan reflects community priorities.
Likewise, we will thoroughly consider all public submissions made to the recent review of the Climate Change Act.
Tasmanians want ambitious action, and Labor will hear their call.
Climate Action Workforce
Labor will invest in job creating projects that will also conserve and protect Tasmania’s unique natural environment.
The $15 million plan will support projects that will protect communities from the effects of a changing climate, including flood, erosion and fire mitigation work. The plan will also tackle weed management (including non-declared weeds such as capeweed), update Threatened Species Management Plans and support species protection.
This investment will create 200 jobs, predominantly in regional areas.
Total cost over four years: $15 million
Working for Tasmanians to End the Feed-In Tariff Rip Off
The Liberals have ripped off Tasmanians
Solar owners have been badly let down by the Liberals.
People who invested in solar in good faith have seen the value of their investment crumble after the feed-in tariffs were cut.
Now the controversial new ‘solar tax’ proposed by the Australian Energy Market Commission will further hit the value of feed-in tariffs with people set to be charged for exporting solar power to the grid.
This is completely unfair.
Labor’s positive alternative
Due to changes in the national electricity market it is now impossible to simply reinstate the previous tariff rates and the only solution is battery storage.
Labor would love to undo the Liberal damage but unfortunately we cannot.
However, for customers, having battery storage is the equivalent of receiving a feed-in tariff equal to the retail rate charged by Aurora.
The loans will be over ten years, interest free for the first three years and then low interest for the remaining seven.
$20 million of loans will be available under the program.
This funding will help ensure Tasmanians see return on their solar investment which is both beneficial to them and the environment.
While Labor works to push down power prices, Peter Gutwein and the Liberals will carve up and privatise the Hydro.
Only Labor is working for Tasmanians to get more solar on more roofs.
Working for Tasmanians to Put Solar on Schools
A Labor Government will create a $5 million Solar Schools Fund to encourage state schools to install solar panels and reduce their power costs.
The program would create around 45 jobs.
An important element of Labor’s policy is that schools will be able to retain their savings as an incentive instead of having to return this money to the department, which is the current Liberal policy.
Labor candidate for Franklin and Tasmanian Young Australian of the Year 2021 Toby Thorpe has been campaigning on this issue for several years and was instrumental in fundraising to help Huonville High install solar panels when he was a student at the school.
We estimate that by installing solar panels, each school could save around $22 thousand a year from their power bill. Under Labor’s policy this is a significant saving that can be poured back into increasing the learning outcomes of students at each participating school.
Labor’s policy is a win for jobs, it’s a win for schools and it’s a win for the climate.