Pat Conaghan clarifies climate stance after criticism

Pat Conaghan says he is concerned about the effects of action to lead to net zero in 2050 on Cowper voters.


SOME sections of the Cowper community have been critical of the response to climate change by Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan.

In a previous article in News Of The Area, the convenor for Voices4Cowper, Gillian Anderson, suggested that Cowper voters wanted a stronger response, to which Mr Conaghan replied that he is concerned about effects of climate change action on Cowper residents.

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The Coffs Coast Climate Action Group was happy to receive a reply from Mr Conaghan to a letter they had previously sent him, but also felt that his reply was not strong enough.

Spokesperson for the group, Liisa Rusanen, said, “Cowper deserves a representative with the vision and courage to speak up clearly for action on the climate crisis, for a modern, zero emissions economy, based on clean, sustainable jobs because that’s where the rest of the world is heading.

“But, Pat Conaghan has voted with the dinosaurs in the National Party every time.

“He’s voted against a fast and fair transition to renewable energy, backing more coal and gas.

“With our region already facing devastating climate impacts – like more intense fires, floods and supercell storms – we can’t keep adding fuel to the fire for another three decades.

“Other countries are focused now on emissions cuts by 2030, but the National Party are holding us back – they won’t even reveal the details of their secret deal.”

In light of negotiations between the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce about Australia’s climate change targets, Mr Conaghan has reiterated his position.

He said that whether the public should be told of the exact agreement that was formed within the National Party Room is a decision for Barnaby Joyce.

Mr Conaghan said, “On that topic, I should note that, when you are in the process of protracted negotiations, as the National Party have been in the past couple of weeks and will continue to be, you don’t generally want to show your hand, especially any agreement that hasn’t yet been carved in stone.

“I believe the Deputy Prime Minister’s interests are aligned entirely with the regions’ and in specifically making sure that we secure appropriate concessions for stronger safeguards for regional communities and regional jobs.

“That is also my number one priority, always has been, to ensure that we protect regional and rural Australian jobs and I’ve made no secret of this,” he said.

Mr Conaghan said he felt that this priority has been deliberately misconstrued by certain groups, based on the fact that he hasn’t emphatically come out in support of the current Net Zero proposition.

He said that wanting more detail on the exact plan to get to Net Zero does not mean that he doesn’t support the need to address the issue, that he doesn’t believe in climate change or that he is a dinosaur now sticking his head in the sand.

“My head is also not in the clouds, spouting rhetoric that I know to be empty when it comes to the nuts and bolts of actual progress,” he said.

“Quite the contrary, my head is firmly planted in the realities of the situation and both its immediate effect on those in my electorate, and its future effect on the globe.”

Mr Conaghan said, “I believe the safeguards that we’ve secured will help the regions and will continue to provide stability and prosperity in the local job market, whether that be the resource sector or agriculture or transport.

“I was confident walking out of the party room on Sunday that regional and rural Australians are much better off now than what they were before we entered that room to commence negotiations.”


By Andrew VIVIAN

One thought on “Pat Conaghan clarifies climate stance after criticism

  1. An empty meaningless response to an important issue that affects our region. Disappointing to say the least. It’s clear that Conahan uncritically follows the National Party line without a thought. It’s a great pity that the National Party chooses to ignore the concerns of the electorate.

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