Labor Declares Climate Change Is Here and Its Consequences Are Devastating

Labor Declares Climate Change Is Here and Its Consequences Are Devastating
Image: AP Photo/Rod McGuirk

The federal government unveiled its 2022 Budget on Tuesday night. It offered a few gems, but it was really light in the area a lot of us want them to focus – climate. In Labor’s Budget reply, delivered last night, the opposition gave the climate a little bit more attention.

While a federal election is yet to be officially called, it’s almost certainly coming in May. Budgets usually set out spending for the next financial year beginning July 1, but this year the Coalition delivered a pre-election Budget, which means the measures announced will only come into effect if they win the federal election.

Enter Labor leader Anthony Albanese.

On Thursday night, he laid out Labor’s plans in a Budget reply: he said he has a “real plan for a better future”. That future includes at least one registered nurse in aged care facilities and cheaper child care, as well as the promise to stand up a National Anti-Corruption Commission. While he made comments such as this one: “If I’m Prime Minister, I won’t go missing when the going gets tough – or pose for photos and then disappear when there’s a job to be done”, he also declared:

“Climate change is here and its consequences are devastating.”

Pointing to Labor’s policy on climate change, unveiled in December, Albanese said that was the proof Australians need to know the opposition will act on climate change.

To refresh your memory, under Labor’s plan, more than 200 of the nation’s heaviest polluters will be required to collectively lower their emissions over the next three decades to help achieve an economy-wide cut of 43 per cent by 2030, and net zero emissions by 2050. According to commentary from the Australian Financial Review, this will lower power prices, increase jobs and drive the uptake of renewable energy.

“Our policy will give businesses and workers the certainty they need,” Abanese said on Thursday. Noting also that Labor will “end the climate wars”.

“We will act on climate change and seize the chance to transform our country into a renewable energy superpower,” the Labor leader’s Budget reply speech continued. “It will make us more resilient and less dependent on global supply chains.”

On the Today Show this morning, Albanese said Labor’s climate change policy will create 604,000 new jobs by 2030.

Labor’s Budget reply also touched on previously announced initiatives around jobs creation, including bringing the total tech jobs figure to 1.2 million by 2030 and its ‘Startup Year’ promise. Here’s the summary:

  1. The Powering Australia plan to drive investment in cheap, renewable energy will see Labor create 604,000 new jobs by 2030, with five out of every six in the regions, and lower power bills for households and businesses.
  1. Plans for a Future Made in Australia – making more things here, diversifying the economy and revitalising the regions. Labor says using its National Reconstruction Fund, it will work with business to help turn good ideas into good, secure jobs and new homegrown industries.
  2. And the plan to invest in infrastructure, with Albanese saying roads, rail, ports and high-speed broadband are the building blocks of a stronger, more connected, more efficient economy.

There was a lot in Labor’s Budget reply that highlights the direction Albanese hopes to take the country if his party is successful at the upcoming election. If you want to read the rest of Labor’s measures, head over here, and the Coalition’s Budget can be found here.