Gas Exploration Near 12 Apostles
The following is the full exchange, between Dr Tim Read, And the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, on Tueday 22nd June, 2020.
Dr READ: My question is for the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change. Last week the federal government announced that it was opening offshore areas for oil and gas exploration, some of them within 6 kilometres of the Twelve Apostles national park. The federal minister for resources said that this decision was made jointly with the states. Also last week NASA announced that the rate of global warming had roughly doubled in the last 15 years. So considering the climate impacts, did the Victorian government support or oppose this federal plan to allow oil and gas drilling so close to one of our top tourist destinations?
Ms D’AMBROSIO (Mill Park—Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Minister for Solar Homes): I thank the member for Brunswick for his question. I will answer this absolutely, but certainly the question is more appropriately directed to the Minister for Resources. I can be really plain in saying that I am unaware of claims that are made in terms of state government support for this. It could very well be the case, but I am not here to confirm one way or the other on it. It is in commonwealth waters, and that is absolutely a point that has to be remembered here.
The action on climate change cannot be judged simply by one action alone or the lack of one action alone. Our commitment is plain for everyone to see. We are leading the country in terms of our commitments to climate change and our interim reduction targets by 2030, which are up there with Joe Biden’s, and we are unashamedly proud of that. The solutions to climate change are not found within one particular policy pursuit. That might be popular among some people in communities, but the fact is it is about working through the whole of the economy and having a complex plan and a complex set of responses to what is a massive challenge but one that we are absolutely up for, and we are actually going ahead and doing it.
Dr READ (Brunswick) (14:22): I thank the minister for starting to answer the question. Considering that this oil and gas exploration will involve the use of existing and new energy infrastructure which will come into the state of Victoria, it is likely to have significant state energy implications. Is this government’s reluctance to talk about fossil fuel extraction because they would rather young Victorians did not realise that we are opening up the state to onshore gas drilling next week, not to mention that we are burning over 100 000 tonnes of coal every day, so we are actually part of the problem in speeding up climate change?
Ms D’AMBROSIO (Mill Park—Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Minister for Solar Homes) (14:23): I thank the member for Brunswick for the supplementary question. We are not part of the problem, we are actually the solution. We are the solution on this side of the house, and the only party that will ever deliver anything in government on climate change—and we are doing it—is the Labor Party. We say that unashamedly. We do not run, we do not hide and we do not pretend to switch off the switch overnight on any of these matters, but we are absolutely showing ambition. We do not hide from our policy decisions; we are proud of them. We absolutely understand what is needed, and the community have spoken volumes in terms of their support for us in terms of tackling climate change.