I can’t tell you how good it feels to be in this chamber today speaking on the Climate Change Bill 2022 and the Climate Change (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2022. After my time in the previous parliament, when time after time I had to come into this chamber and point out how the Morrison government was failing us all on climate change, and after sharing my electorate’s frustration at a decade of not just inertia but outright obstruction to climate action from a Liberal-National government more interested in running a culture war than protecting our future, it feels so good to be in here talking about legislation that puts in place the framework for the transformation we have to make for all of our futures—to get a renewable future and the jobs, the industries and the clean energy that will come from that, and, of course, the liveable planet.

It is a really big task, and we don’t have much time to do it, but I am confident that we will do it. The minister has been very clear, in his speech here and in his public statements, that we will work constructively with those here in the parliament and elsewhere who want to help us do that. It has been important to hear from so many members today about how they are willing to work constructively with the Albanese government to get on and do this work. I know there are people who say that 43 per cent isn’t enough and I do hear that argument; it’s not falling on deaf ears. If we can achieve more, that will be really good, and it is important to recognise 43 per cent is a floor, not a ceiling.

But we can’t do any of this if we don’t actually start the work. If we keep quibbling, if we keep arguing and if we keep delaying, we won’t start the work. We know that business wants to get cracking and we know that state governments already have. What has been standing in their way has been federal government obstruction from the previous government. In fact, we’ve got groups like the Australian Industry Group, the Australian Energy Council, the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Australian Institute of Company Directors—quite a diverse group of interests—all coming together to recognise and say that the lack of a settled policy is what is hurting Australia at the moment.

We have to get this framework in place, and we have to start the work. We can’t continue to delay. On that note, I would really urge those opposite to consider their role in providing a settled framework for Australia. Don’t get distracted by starting a new culture war around nuclear. The work’s been done. Some of your own members did the work in an inquiry two years ago. It’s a distraction. Let’s get on with it. Let’s get on with the renewable future that could be there for all of us. That opportunity is what’s in front of us; don’t let that pass you by.

This legislation will be really important in transforming our country. When I reflect on what I hear in my community and that frustration that I mentioned earlier that so many people feel after a decade of inaction, I know that this legislation will show people that it’s Labor governments that do the big reforms. We did it with Medicare, we did it with the NDIS and now we will do it with climate action and make sure that this country is powered by renewable energy.

With this legislation today, we are demonstrating that climate is one of our biggest priorities. As the minister has said, tackling climate change is going to make an enormous economic contribution to our country. This is going to be a transformation that brings us new industries and brings us jobs—also in the areas that have traditionally been reliant on fossil fuel production.

Australia should absolutely be at the forefront of the transformation to renewable energy—that’s the opportunity that’s in front of us—not only to ensure that we’re doing our part to tackle the crisis that the whole world faces but to make the most of the new and emerging industries that will guarantee good, secure jobs for people now and into the future.

This is one of the reasons why, as a government, we have worked so hard to get the support of the Australian people and to get ourselves into government so that we can make these changes and put tackling climate change at the top of the agenda. I know for me, personally—and I have said this to my electorate so many times—it is one of the main reasons I am in this place, to make sure that we get on with this work and this huge transformation that we have to make for all of our futures. We are running out of time—for us, for our country and for our planet. We must act on climate and that is what our government is doing. It won’t be easy, but we are getting on with it.

The framework that sits behind a lot of this is our Powering Australia plan, which we took to the election, backed by extensive independent modelling and really well-detailed and well-thought-through policy that sets out how we are going to support this transition to renewable energy by investing in the transmission and storage needed to balance the electricity grid, leading to lower electricity prices and, as I said, new jobs and new industries—604,000 jobs, in fact, is what our modelling for that plan shows—and spurring $76 billion worth of investment across our country. Again, I know that in my community many people are looking forward to the opportunities that will bring in terms of the skills they may be trained in, new job opportunities and new ways for them to lead their lives.

We will see parts of this plan rolled out in our communities. We’ve made a commitment to deliver community batteries and solar banks right across Australia, including one in the Belfield area in my electorate, and I very much hope that the Belfield battery will be just the start of my community and others making that switch to storage. I know there are many groups across Jagajaga who have been doing some work on the feasibility of having their own batteries. I commend them for that work. Keep talking to me about that. I’ll keep advocating for us to get more batteries in Jagajaga.

We are also supporting $3 billion of investment in renewables in manufacturing and low-emissions technologies through our government’s National Reconstruction Fund, training new energy apprentices in new jobs. I know that my TAFEs in Heidelberg and Greensborough will be looking at the opportunity to expand the skills offering that they provide in that space. And then there is accelerating the uptake of electric vehicles. I am sure I am not the only member in this place who has many members of their community come to them and ask, ‘Why are electric vehicles so expensive and what’s the government going to do about it?’ Well, rest assured, we are going to do something about it.

It’s been heartbreaking to watch this past decade of missed opportunities on climate. Every failure to act has cost us valuable time, and we don’t have much left. So I sincerely hope that, after all this inaction, this is a parliament that gets on with it, that sets the framework, that makes sure that we are on the right path to the renewable energy future that we should all have—not just for our generation, but doing the work that parliament should do, where we look at what we’re providing for the generations to come. This can’t just be about what works for us in the here and now. It has to work for those who are to come. The climate wars have to come to an end. It is time for us to work together, to listen to what the country has told us—that they want us to work together, that they want us to get on with this—and to take climate action, to switch to renewable energy. What better way for this place to demonstrate that we are all ready to do that than to support this bill that is before us today to get on with the work.

With this bill, our Labor government is making it clear that climate change is one of our biggest priorities. We will not let the chance to tackle climate change slip us by. We will not let the chance to create the jobs and the industries of the future slip us by. We will feel the responsibility that we have, to this generation and future generations, to act on climate change. We are showing that from the very start of this 47th Parliament we will close the door on the past decade of inaction. I sincerely hope the climate wars have ended, because we need our country to be able to work together to fully embrace action on climate change and fully embrace the transformation to our economy that will come with that. It’s on that basis that I commend this bill to the House.

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