TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My question is to the Minister for Environment
and Climate Change, Gavin Jennings. Will the minister update the house on how
the Brumby Labor government is taking action to help address the complex issues
involved in adapting to the impacts of climate change and demonstrating once
again the Brumby Labor government’s role as a leader in climate change policy?
JENNINGS (Minister for Environment and Climate Change) — I thank Ms Tierney for the
opportunity to talk about an important announcement made by the Premier and me
this morning when we attended an international symposium on climate change
adaptation which the Victorian government is hosting at this moment.
Honourable members interjecting.
Mr JENNINGS — It is creating an opportunity for the Victorian
community to be well engaged and well immersed in international considerations
of climate change adaptation — something that our government is very keen to
The government understands that the opposition, which has been
silent for decades on this issue, has actually found voice in trying to howl me
down in terms of the position the Victorian government is trying to develop in
collaboration with the Victorian community and various stakeholders: industry in
regional communities across Victoria.
We are very determined to make sure Victoria plays a leadership
and progressive role in relation to the transformation of our economy, to drive
better results in relation to greenhouse gas abatement and to see that we adopt
innovative practices, build the best technology and have the best application in
terms of industrial processes in Victoria, which will mean that Victoria will
continue to lead the national trajectory in relation to greenhouse gas abatement
and to transform our economy.
In the symposium this morning we looked at the ways in which
the adaptation strategy where we have already established a momentum — whether
it be through land and biodiversity, water management or research and
development in terms of supporting better approaches to agricultural production,
whether it be through the collaborative approach we have with local government
and communities through the sustainability accord, where we have seen a
relationship between 69 of the 79 municipalities across Victoria working in
collaboration with the Victorian government about a host of climate change
strategies and implementation of strategies within local communities — will
mean we can be well armed to deal with the climate change challenge.
The government wants to make sure it is well versed both in the
global aspects of the science in relation to atmospheric conditions and in
climate change scenarios that may impact upon the quality of life of our
It is quite extraordinary that in the comparatively constrained
area of Victoria there will be significant regional variations across the
landscape in terms of the structural adjustment and the adaptation that is
required. Indeed the Victorian government wants to engage our community about
the way we can rise to respond to that.
The structure of the green paper will see us inviting our
community to participate in a debate about these issues in the months to come.
The document being released today will culminate in a white paper process later
in the year, which not only coincides with the importance of developing the
adaptation strategy and the implementation of it but comes in a very timely way
when considering how it relates to the carbon pollution reduction scheme (CPRS)
which is currently before the Australian Parliament and will be the major
legislative architecture and market regulator in terms of how the transformation
Mr Barber interjected.
Mr JENNINGS — I understand there is a degree of ambivalence,
if not confusion or resistance, coming from the other side of the chamber. I
want members to know that the Victorian government has produced its green paper
regardless of the trajectory of the CPRS —
whether it is adopted as it is, whether a
pause button is put on or whether it is reconfigured in light of international
obligations — and will continue to look at ways in which we complement the
integrity of the CPRS to drive the most progressive trajectory of greenhouse gas
abatement in our economy and our society in the years to come.
As part of that commitment today we said Victoria would be
supportive in the context of an agreement around Copenhagen that Australia adopt
an 80 per cent reduction trajectory by 2050. That is a commitment that we have
made in the document, and we are inviting our community to comment on that, to
comment on the way we can do that and to develop our capability of dealing with
that in a way that addresses the environmental challenges but creates a climate
of opportunity for our citizens to be employed in new job opportunities that we
believe will flow from the commitments of our government.
We are very keen to work collaboratively with all stakeholders
in our community, whether they be regional communities, major employers in the
community, the mums and dads, aunts and uncles, grandfathers or grandmothers and
their children and offspring in relation to working through these issues
collaboratively. We want an engaged, informed and enthused community to rise up
and meet the challenge of climate change but to see it through the prism of
opportunities for the Victorian community and the Victorian economy.