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Question Time: Will Labor stop approving new coal and gas projects?

On Tuesday 1 August 2023, I asked the Environment and Water Minister if the Labor Government will commit to stop approving new coal and gas projects, or if they are happy to see Australia face summers of heat waves and fires? You can watch the speech here or read the full transcript below.




My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Water. The United Nations says the world is boiling. Australia faces an extreme summer of fires and heat waves like those happening right now in the Northern Hemisphere. In the middle of this climate crisis, you keep approving coalmines and gas projects. Will you commit to showing global leadership and stop approving more coal and gas mines, or are you happy to see Australia burn too?


I thank the member for her question. I have to say to the member that I am absolutely proud to be part of a government that was recognised overnight by UNESCO as taking action—strong action—on climate change in order to save the Great Barrier Reef. As sources close to UNESCO said to Le Monde, between the previous and this government it's a bit like night and day.

Indeed, it is a bit like night and day. Under the previous government, they had 22 separate climate and energy policies, and they didn't land a single one. What have we done since coming to government? In little over a year, we have legislated a trajectory to net zero with a 43 per cent emissions reduction target between now and then. We've legislated a safeguard mechanism to make sure that large projects approved in Australia fit within that trajectory to net zero. We are building a renewable energy system that will see 82 per cent of energy in our grid come from renewables. The solar farms, the wind farms, the hydro plants, the green hydrogen—

Honourable members interjecting


The minister will pause. The member for Griffith will be heard in silence on a point of order.


On relevance, Mr Speaker. The question went directly to the approval of coal and gas projects. We'd like the minister to address that part of the question.


Resume your seat. The question did contain that, but it contained a lot of other topics. If you are going to ask a specific question, it can't contain a whole lot of preamble, because that is what the minister is entitled to answer. She's being relevant.


The difference between those opposite and the Albanese Labor government is that we are acting on climate change. We are part of a global commitment to meet the objectives in the Paris Agreement, to keep global warming as low as possible. We know that climate change is a threat to our natural environment, and that is why we are taking action. That's why we've got our legislated path to net zero. That's why we've got the safeguards mechanism. That's why we're investing in renewable energy projects. I have doubled the rate of approval of renewable energy projects since becoming the environment minister. We are seeing investment in green hydrogen, we're acting on ozone, we're acting on methane, we're acting on electric vehicles, we're acting to electrify our homes and businesses and get that extra renewable energy—that clean, green renewable energy—into our homes and businesses. That's the difference between those opposite and this government. We know that climate change is a threat and we're acting on it. Can I say to those opposite that we know that nothing we do will ever be enough, whether it's on housing, renewable energy or protecting the poorest and most vulnerable Australians, but I'm proud to be part of a government that is acting to deliver, not just talking about it.

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