Can a Labor government deliver on its climate change commitments?
The new Australian government under Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced that it will create a new Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.
The decision is a signal from the government that it plans to make addressing climate change a top priority, after the issue was largely brushed aside by the previous Coalition government led by Scott Morrison. Morrison, of course, came under intense pressure to take a slower, less aggressive approach to climate issues by its Coalition partner, the Nationals.
The Labor government has indicated it will introduce legislation within this year that includes targets for reducing emissions (a 43% cut by 2030 vs 2005 levels).
Under its Powering Australia plan, the Labor government plans to:
Make electric vehicles cheaper with an electric car discount and Australia’s first National Electric Vehicle Strategy.
Invest $39.3 million (matched by the NRMA) to deliver 117 fast charging stations on highways across Australia, providing charging stations at an average interval of 150km on major roads.
Allocate up to $3 billion from Labor’s National Reconstruction Fund to invest in green metals (steel, alumina and aluminium); clean energy component manufacturing; hydrogen electrolysers and fuel switching; agricultural methane reduction and waste reduction.
Provide direct financial support for measures that improve energy efficiency within existing industries and develop new industries in Regional Australia through a new Powering the Regions Fund.
Roll out 85 solar banks around Australia to ensure more households can benefit from rooftop solar.
Install 400 community batteries across the country.
Reduce the Australian Public Service’s own emissions to net zero by 2030.
Establish a real-world vehicle fuel testing program to inform consumer choice.
Re-establish leadership by restoring the role of the Climate Change Authority, while keeping decision-making and accountability with Government and introducing new annual Parliamentary reporting by the Minister.
So while the Department receives a nice shiny new name, will Labor be able to deliver on its commitments?