Tonight I want to talk about climate change, because ever since I was elected to this place people in my community have continued to be very clear with me that they support action that listens to the science, is driven by the science and secures the future of all of us. Our government has just recently announced our new vehicle efficiency standards. More efficient vehicles will mean savings on both maintenance and fuel costs for people in my community and communities right around Australia.

I know that some of the Chicken Littles on the other side have predictably taken this announcement as a chance to run around and suggest that the sky is falling in. But it is not all of them who are Chicken Littles. Some, in fact, have been supporters of this policy for a long time. In 2017, the member for Bradfield and his then ministerial colleague Josh Frydenberg were big advocates for vehicle efficiency standards. They said:

… European versions of the top selling … Mazda 3 and Mazda CX5 [are] all more efficient than the models sold in Australia …

What a revelation! They said:

If Australia had fuel efficiency standards in line with comparable nations, estimates of the fuel saving per passenger vehicle could be above $500 per year, or nearly $28 billion in total by 2040.

I am very glad that they did their homework. They also said:

Consumers could also benefit from accessing better vehicles as manufacturers are currently holding back some of their latest fuel efficient stock from Australia.

With better vehicles, fuel savings and more efficient car models, this is a win-win-win if I’ve ever seen one. I’m so pleased that those opposite saw it earlier, but I am very disappointed, including for consumers in my community and around this country, that those opposite didn’t act earlier on their conviction. If the member for Bradfield and Josh Frydenberg had only had the courage to deliver fuel efficiency standards back then, when they sat on the government benches, consumers across this country could have been saving for years.

Of course, just two years after those statements, Liberals and Nationals across the aisle were singing from a new song sheet called ‘ending the weekend’, and we have heard some of those refrains coming back in the past fortnight. Australians are too smart to fall for this scare campaign. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Those opposite continue to play politics with climate change. They continue to do this country a disservice, putting their own political interests—we saw this again in Nemesis the other week—ahead of the outcomes that this country needs, and in this case ahead of savings for consumers that will come from vehicle fuel efficiency standards that should have been in place under their watch.

Of course, when it comes to all these important policies and all these important decisions, when it comes to genuine action on climate change, it takes a Labor government. This Labor government is doing the work to secure a better future for my community and people across Australia.

Click here to watch this speech.

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