Doing our bit

Last week’s opinion piece by former Bayswater councillor Chris Cornish called for more scrutiny of the McGowan government’s action on climate change. In this week’s Speakers Corner, Maylands MP Lisa Baker outlines what they have been up to in, WA, and what’s planned.

AS devastating bushfires spread across our nation and discussion turns to the failings of the Commonwealth government, there has also been talk in my community about what the McGowan state government is doing to address climate change.

We are committed to action on climate change and acknowledge the overwhelming body of scientific evidence that climate change is real. It’s here, it’s already happening, and requires coordinated action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and ensure Australia’s national commitments are met.

The McGowan government has long-held the position that a nationally consistent policy framework, which we can rely on to deliver the commitments of the Paris agreement, is needed.

A national approach can help protect the international competitiveness of key industries and avoid costs being imposed on WA businesses.

However, the state government is not waiting for the Commonwealth and has committed to developing a coordinated State Climate Policy.

The policy will focus on adaptation, mitigation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and playing our part in contributing to the national emissions target.

Climate change

A climate change issues paper released last year received more than 3500 submissions from the community, business and industry. The feedback will be used to finalise the policy and provide us with a roadmap of actions, to be released in the coming months.

We have re-established a climate change unit within the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation. The unit will do a stocktake of climate change actions and measures being undertaken across government. The previous government abolished the climate change unit.

Last August the McGowan government announced its commitment to working with all sectors of the economy to achieve net zero emissions for WA by 2050. The commitment sends a clear signal for new investments, creates certainty for business and positions our state for the global low carbon transition.

We are currently enhancing renewable energy and energy storage technologies, developing a renewable hydrogen industry, securing our water supplies and accelerating uptake of electric vehicles. We are working to unlock the state’s carbon abatement and sequestration potential, while improving the condition of our rangelands and supporting economic development in our regions.

WA has significant land mass and considerable opportunities for a thriving carbon market.

Through the State Climate Policy and work undertaken across Government, we are exploring options to support development of carbon markets and boost the state’s carbon stocks.

Carbon farming can deliver many benefits. This includes habitat restoration, biodiversity conservation, regional prosperity and Aboriginal employment.

Increasing carbon offset generation provides a pathway for businesses seeking to offset their emissions to reinvest back into the local economy and the community.

An example of this is Greening Australia’s recent announcement of a partnership with Woodside to work together on large-scale native tree planting projects.

The partnership will include research and development of innovative approaches in landscape restoration at the scales required to deliver liquidity in carbon markets, and support industry goals to lower emissions.

A Native Vegetation Issues Paper is currently out for public consultation. The paper seeks feedback on four initiatives that the Government proposes, to improve the consistency, transparency and the information base for Government decisions.

These are designed to deliver benefits to the community and industry now and make the rules and outcomes sought for native vegetation clearer. They also aim to improve the coordination of multiple decisions towards a common goal – making each decision more effective. This will help us plan the next steps to protect our State’s native vegetation assets.

I encourage all people with an interest to have their say by February 10 at dwer.wa.gov.au/consultation/nativeveg

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