February 24, 2021

What utter gibberish! I can't get over how hopeless that contribution was, from the latest energy minister of a government that produced 22 energy policies in eight years—probably 23, when they kill their CEFC bill after the revolt from the member from New England and the National Party room. Seriously, it takes a real skill to get rolled by the National Party room and Barnaby Joyce. Let's check some facts. To reach the minus-five-per-cent 2020 target this government signed up to, our emissions had to be 515 million tonnes per annum. Under Labor, we cut emissions over six years by 93 million tonnes. Guess how much they cut emissions by in the first six years of their government. Six million. We only reached the minus-five-per-cent target last year because of the COVID recession. That's the only reason. If the COVID recession hadn't wiped out 14 million tonnes of our emissions last year, we wouldn't have reached the minus-five-per-cent target they brag about.

What about the 2030 target? Their own figures admit that they're not going to meet it. Their own figures say that, at best, we'll be 22 per cent below 2005 levels, meaning we will have only cut emissions by 136 million tonnes, compared to 2005 levels. Where have these 136 million tonnes come from? Again, nearly 100 million tonnes was cut by Labor when we were in power. Let me repeat that: 100 million tonnes of carbon pollution per year cut from our annual emissions. Secondly, this government revised the projections between 2019 and 2020 by 33 million tonnes. What drove that reduction in emissions projections? First off, it was the record installation of rooftop solar panels under Labor's RET, which they repeatedly tried to abolish, and under state Labor policies that they opposed. They're claiming credit yet again for a federal policy they tried several times tried to abolish and for state policies. Secondly—and this is the one I love—the revised emissions projections also include eight million tonnes of pollution saved by the increased take-up of electric vehicles. What hypocrisy from this government! Who doesn't remember Michaelia Cash's unhinged attack on Labor during the last election, claiming that somehow we were going to take away the weekend and take away tradies' utes? And now they're claiming credit for the increased electric vehicle take-up in this country, despite the fact they have not a single policy to achieve it.

Then there are some very suspicious figures on fugitive emissions going down, despite the fact we've had a very significant increase in fugitive emissions over the last four or five years.

Despite all those rubbery figures, the government admits that they would only be at minus 22 per cent by 2030, not to the 28 per cent they brag about.

How did they get to the minus 28 per cent? They then claim—

Ms Butler:  They just make it up!

Mr CONROY:  They just make it up! The member for Griffith is right. They make it up by claiming nearly another hundred million tonnes of abatement from the technology road map. I've read the technology road map and it is as useful in this debate as a restaurant menu. It just says that we have all these wonderful technologies: we have carbon capture and storage; we have solar; and we have hydrogen. It says we have all these great technologies but it doesn't deliver a single policy that drives them. It doesn't deliver a single policy to drive those technologies, which are suddenly going to provide abatement through the technology.

The truth is that this government have no policies to cut pollution. All they can do is claim credit for Labor's policies from when we were in government, claim credit for state policies driving record renewable energy investment, claim credit for recessions—they can claim credit for the COVID recession—and claim credit for electric vehicles coming up. This is the truth of this government: they're all spin and no substance when it comes to emissions policy.

As the member for McMahon pointed out in his contribution, they're sacrificing huge economic opportunities for this country—huge economic opportunities to grow jobs in things like battery manufacturing and lithium mining. We should be using our great mining resources to supply the new industries of the future. That is what's being sacrificed and that's what has been betrayed by this government. They're betraying regions like mine, which could be the centre of new power as well as continuing to be a centre of other technologies, including export coalmining. This what the future is under wise government, but that's not what this government is doing. This government is pursuing an ideological obsession in the Nationals party room of putting nuclear power around the country.