NSW right to criticise federal Coalition as ‘out of touch’, but must step up to its own climate rhetoric to have any credibility

SYDNEY, Dec 19, 2018 - NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin’s rebuke of the Morrison Government’s capitulation on reducing emissions is welcome but ultimately meaningless, coming from a state with no renewable energy target and no policy to achieve its net zero emissions target.

In an opinion piece published in The Australian Financial Review this morning, Don Harwin called for an end to the “climate wars” and urged his federal colleagues to “put science, economics and engineering ahead of ideology” or risk up to $26 billion in renewable energy investments “being spooked by poor policy and political ideology”. [1]

“Scott Morrison arrogantly continues to ignore the message of the Wentworth by-election and the electoral annihilation the Coalition suffered in Victoria. If you don’t act on climate, you are unelectable. Fortunately, not all Coalition governments are as out of touch on climate and energy policy as the one in Canberra,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Campaigner Holly Dawson said.  

“Don Harwin has correctly called out the Morrison Government over its politicisation of energy policy and capitulation to vested interests. However, NSW is hardly in a position to throw stones. The state remains a laggard on renewable energy and doesn’t currently have the emissions reduction policies it criticises the federal government for lacking.

“If NSW wants to be taken seriously it needs to come up with the policies to match its rhetoric. A good start would be rapidly accelerating investment in renewable energy.”

NSW currently has a “Renewable Energy Action Plan” but that scheme does not contain a renewable energy target, which have proven effective at driving investment.

The state has also been accused of “filling budget holes” with money from the state’s Climate Change Fund.

An article published in The Sydney Morning Herald today says the Berejiklian Government “has lately shifted the outlays it has been making towards vaguely climate-related activities” such as spending $43 million “paying landholders to conserve biodiversity to offset an expected increase in native vegetation clearing”. [2]

“The NSW government has some audacity to criticise its federal counterparts while it allegedly rips millions out of funds slated for climate and spends it on projects that are potentially harmful to the environment, like raising the Warragamba Dam wall,” Ms Dawson said.

“Spending on emissions reduction measures has fallen by millions and there is no longer data provided on how much water, electricity and carbon-dioxide was saved by the fund’s expenditure. None of these are the actions of a government committed to the fight against climate change.”



[1] https://www.afr.com/news/economy/nsw-can-be-the-circuitbreaker-on-stalled-power-policy-20181218-h198pb

[2] https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/slush-fund-berejiklian-government-accused-of-diverting-climate-cash-20181217-p50mou.html


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