Coalition Senators note the content of the report and consider that the evidence
provided will help inform consideration of these issues in the future.
Australia is well positioned to meet the challenge of climate change.
Australia has mature financial, welfare and regulatory systems, well-governed
institutions and internationally-recognised scientific expertise.
Coalition Senators make the following additional comments:
- The Australian Government is committed to playing its role in
global efforts to reduce emissions. Australia has a strong track record of
meeting its international emissions reduction commitments. We successfully beat
our first Kyoto target by 128 million tonnes and are on track to meet and beat
our 2020 target of five per cent below 2000 levels by 294 million tonnes.
- As part of the Paris Agreement, Australia has committed to reduce
emissions by 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. This will see
Australia's emissions per person halve and the emissions intensity of our
economy reduce by two-thirds. These reductions are among the largest of any
- The 2017 review of climate change policies concluded that the
current policy suite, with some adjustments, provides the right approach to meeting
Australia's 2030 target and Paris Agreement Commitments.
- As part of the 2017 climate change review, the Australian
Government has agreed to develop a long-term emissions reduction strategy by
2020. In the 2018–19 Budget the Government provided $900,000 over two years to
develop the long-term whole-of-economy emissions reduction strategy.
Climate Information and Guidance
Coalitions Senators note the Australian Government has a comprehensive
range of initiatives and support mechanisms to ensure information and guidance
is made available to decision-makers to manage risks from a changing climate.
This was reflected in a range of submissions to the Inquiry. Some of the
measures noted during the Inquiry include:
- The Australian Government has funded the $145 million National
Environmental Science Program, which is delivered through six research hubs.
The Earth Systems and Climate Change Hub supports research to help address the
challenges posed by a changing climate across multiple sectors, including the built
environment. Other hubs, such as the Clean Air and Urban Landscape hub, are
supporting research into climate change adaptation, with a more specific and
practical focus on Australia's urban areas.
- The independent National Climate Science Advisory Committee,
established by the Australian Government in April 2016, is informing the future
direction of Australia's climate science capability and research priorities.
The Advisory Committee is developing a national climate science strategy to
assist Australian scientists address research questions including observed and
projected changes to climate variables such as sea level and storm surge
intensity, air temperature and precipitation and the frequency of extreme
weather, including heatwaves, bushfires, floods, and cyclones.
- In the 2017–18 Budget, the Australia Government announced an
Adaptation Partnership comprising the National Climate Change Adaptation
Research Facility, CSIRO and the Department of the Environment and Energy. The
Partnership is developing targeted products which allow decision-makers to
manage risks from a changing climate.
- The National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility is
publishing information products from its research projects including synthesis
summaries, climate change adaptation briefing notes, policy guidance briefs and
an adaptation library for policymakers and decision-makers. The Inquiry heard
how the CoastAdapt online tool, developed by the Facility is providing access
to locally-relevant coastal climate projections data. In addition, the tool
provides guidance on how to use that information to manage associated impacts,
such as erosion and flooding caused by sea level rise.
Coalition Senators note the Government's climate policies are working.
The $2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund is successfully supporting
Australian businesses, communities and landholders to reduce emissions. It is
supporting practical projects, including projects such as improving energy
efficiency, capturing methane from landfills and storing carbon in forests and
soils. So far it has secured more than 190 million tonnes of emissions
reduction at a price of less than $12 per tonne. This is the largest ever
emissions reduction commitment by Australian businesses and landholders.
The Government is also supporting a transition in the energy sector,
which is the largest source of Australia's emissions.
In addition, to supporting the renewable technologies of today, the
Government is also investing in the renewable energy technologies, energy
storage and the infrastructure of the future. For example:
- Funding through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency is
supporting CSIRO and major Australian universities undertake 20 solar R&D
projects to reduce costs, increase efficiency and create new breakthroughs.
- Investments in pumped hydro energy storage projects in
Queensland, South Australia and Snowy Hydro 2.0, which will be the biggest
battery in the Southern Hemisphere, will help make wind and solar more
Coalition Senators note the Government's approach is to deliver a secure
and affordable energy system as it transitions to a lower emissions future.
The Government is also strongly supporting investment in clean energy
innovation through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the
Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). The $10 billion CEFC uses debt and
equity funding to promote investment in clean energy technologies. ARENA
provides research, development and deployment grant funding to improve the
affordability and supply of renewable energy in Australia.
The National Energy Guarantee
Coalition Senators note that the Government has accepted the recommendation
of the independent expert Energy Security Board for a new National Energy
Guarantee to deliver more affordable and reliable electricity while meeting our
The National Energy Guarantee has been welcomed by a broad and diverse
cross section, including energy users, energy suppliers, energy consumers
groups, industry groups, and farmers.
Under the Guarantee the transition towards renewables will continue but
importantly, electricity retailers will need to also have enough dispatchable
electricity generation capacity available. This is essential to ensure the grid
can supply power to households and businesses at all times of the day and night
which is affordable.
Dispatchable capacity includes technologies and fuels which can be
controlled independent of the weather, for example, gas, hydro, biomass, coal,
batteries, and pumped hydro storage.
Coalition Senators also note that climate change is considered as part
of the Australian Government's support for infrastructure development.
Infrastructure Australia (IA) is required to assess business cases of
projects seeking greater than $100 million in Government funding against an
Assessment Framework which includes consideration of disaster risk. For
- Robust cost benefit analysis assists with quantifying the
additional costs incurred by addressing uncertainties (i.e. higher capital
costs) or by accepting a degree of risk that can be managed in other ways
through the project life-cycle (for example, higher maintenance and operational
costs). This is an important part of ensuring a balanced approach to
considering a range of risks—including climate risks—without unnecessary 'gold
plating' of infrastructure.
A range of other examples include:
- Funding Austroads to develop road design principles to ensure
roads are built to a standard. For example, Austroads released the new
Australian Bridge Code in March 2017 to consider changes in the Australian
climate, sustainability and safety-in-design.
Funding flood mitigation projects through the Infrastructure
Investment Program, such as the upgrade of the Yeppen Floodplain crossing on
the Bruce Highway, to duplicate the Highway on an elevated carriageway.
- Managing the Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy—a policy
statement and a plan for practical implementation to ensure the continued
operation of critical infrastructure in the face of all hazards.
Implementing the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience, which
continues to provide high-level strategic direction for all governments to
build the nation's resilience to natural disasters.
- Coordinating Australia's implementation of, and reporting
against, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030. Agreed by
United Nations Member States in 2015, the Framework emphasises management of
disaster risk, as opposed to focusing solely on disaster response or recovery.
Progress in implementing the Framework also represents progress towards meeting
the Sustainable Development Goals, ten of which relate to disaster risk
reduction and climate action.
As a priority, the National Resilience Taskforce, working with
all levels of government and with key private (including insurance and finance)
and community partners, is leading the development of a national, five year,
risk reduction framework (The Framework). The Framework will deliver strategic
national guidance on how all levels of government and non-government sectors
(including the critical infrastructure sector) can take a coordinated and
targeted approach to reduce climate influenced disaster risk, in an effort to
prevent or limit the physical, social and economic impact of hazards. The
National Resilience Taskforce will also progress the development of a national
disaster risk information services capability to equip decision-makers and
Australians with the knowledge they need to prepare for disasters.
New disaster recovery arrangements to take effect on 1 November
2018. The new arrangements introduce a funding model for the rebuilding of
essential public assets that gives the states and territories greater autonomy
to rebuild their infrastructure in a way that best suits the needs of
disaster-affected communities. The arrangements also provide incentives to
spend savings from the efficient delivery of reconstruction projects on
disaster mitigation activities, such as building more disaster-resilient
infrastructure to withstand future disasters.
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