OPINION: What have the Nationals been doing on climate change?


DEAR News Of The Area,

THE Climate Questions article (p1, News Of The Area, Friday 15 October Edition) included a response to NOTA from our local federal MP Mr Pat Conaghan which highlighted the need for a transition away from fossil fuels and reducing emissions which indicates that there is a belief in climate change, although that is my interpretation.

However, if you are to have a transition then you need a starting point, but any suggestion when such a transition should take place, or how it should be implemented, and what it should include, appears to be elusive and a step too far to contemplate for the National Party.

Mr Conaghan was also quoted as saying, “I am all for leading the way to net zero but not to the detriment of regional and rural people. This is why we need to see a clear, determined path of action with proper protections for Australia before we commit to the rest of the world.”

In my humble opinion Mr Conaghan’s response indicates that his expectation is that someone other than himself or the National Party should be doing the work to put forward a policy for the regional and rural areas of Australia.

This leads me to question where have they been and what have they been doing for the last three parliamentary terms, two of which were before Mr Conaghan was elected but the incumbent was still from the National Party?

Why haven’t the Nationals developed a policy for the regional and rural areas of Australia rather than denying and delaying until the country’s government is now in crisis trying to scramble together something at the last minute to offer to the rest of the world and prevent tariffs being implemented by other countries that will be a disaster for regional and rural Australia, the very constituents the Nationals claim to want to protect from the effects of climate change?

Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce says his party won’t be “forced into a corner” but this issue has been in the centre of the room for a decade, it would appear the Nationals are forcing themselves into a corner because of their own inaction.

Deputy Nationals leader Mr D Littleproud said recently that more ambitious federal targets were off the table, with the plan presented to the party room containing no reference to a higher 2030 target and that the only details that have been presented to the National Party is for net zero by 2050.

He also indicated that he thought they would need the time, air and space to be able to do that in a constructive manner, to get a result on that.

As well, he indicated that any other proposals would have to be very clearly defined before they were given any consideration.

Mr Littleproud’s statements appear to reinforce the perception that the Nationals have done no work on developing a plan or policy for the effects that climate change will have on the regional and rural areas of Australia during the last three terms of government.

The current fiasco resulting from the federal LNP government needing to come up with a position on climate change to present to the world and COP26 in Glasgow does little to provide any level of confidence that any agreement that is reached within the federal LNP coalition will be a durable plan to provide the overarching policy position desperately needed by other levels of government and the private sector in order to drive the transition that is so long overdue.

It appears the state governments will be continuing with plans they have already announced meaning Australia will once again have a disjointed approach to something that is a global problem and should be dealt with under a national plan.


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