Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) -- Last week the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology released the third biennial State of the Climate report, the contents of which should be of great import to governments at all levels. The federal Minister for Environment, the Honourable Greg Hunt, famously said that he did not need the Climate Commission and could rely on the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology. The report of those two organisations states:
Colleen Hartland questions the Minister in parliament over his heatwave and climate change comments:
Ms HARTLAND (Western Metropolitan)—My question is for the Minister for Health. The minister has stated the importance of not confusing the response to individual occasions of heatwave with more 'esoteric' debates on climate change. The year 2013 was the hottest on record in Australia. The January heatwave was the hottest four-day period on record. The Bureau of Meteorology has said that there have been 21 days from 2001–14 which have has reached 45 degrees Celsius, compared with 13 days in the 44 years before that. CSIRO has stated that climate change is happening. Does the government reject these scientific findings and deny that heatwaves are becoming worse in Victoria as a result of climate change?
Colleen Hartland - Speech in Parliament.
In light of the January 2014 heatwave that led to over 100 deaths across Victoria, Colleen Hartland has called for the government to take heatwaves more seriously. In parliamnet she motioned for a review of the government's heatwave planning, saying heatwaves deserve a whole of government emergency response, similar to that of bushfires.
ENERGY LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (GENERAL) BILL 2013
Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- I am very saddened to hear that the members of the Labor and Liberal parties think that the kind of minor level tinkering contained in this bill is up to the job of addressing the crisis in energy affordability that has been ongoing for a number of years now.
Colleen Hartland questioned the Minister for Health in parliament regarding providing funding for frontline agencies to respond to heatwaves. The Minister responded by indicating funding would not be provided and saying that heatwaves should not be confused with the esoteric debate about climate change.
Greens say the Napthine Government is failing to take heatwaves as seriously as bushfires and is under-resourcing responses to protect Victorians.
"The deaths so far this summer are greater than the road toll, greater than bushfire, but there's no screaming sirens, just people dying quietly, often alone and isolated in their homes” said Colleen Hartland, Victorian Greens Health Spokesperson.
“Heatwaves should be on the same emergency planning level as bushfires and floods in Victoria’s emergency management planning. Despite having the highest death toll, they take second rung.”
"This has been a full blown natural disaster, with many avoidable deaths and the Napthine Government is doing little more than issuing heat alerts."
Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) -- On Sunday, 17 November, along with tens of thousands of Australians in capital cities and many regional centres, I attended the National Day of Climate Action, calling on the Australian government to step up action to reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. In September this year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its fifth assessment report, which states:
Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) -- Last Wednesday I joined a packed room at the Frankston civic centre for the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Frankston round table of the Western Port Biosphere region's webcast '24 hours of reality -- the cost of carbon'.
Yesterday the Climate Change Authority told the federal government that a 5% greenhouse gas reduction goal was "not a credible option'.
This group of environmental radicals, including Bernie Fraser and Heather Ridout, said that Australia's efforts were in the middle of the pack and other countries were gearing up for more aggressive action, even as Tony Abbott and Greg Hunt prepare to slam on the brakes. And to shut down that same Authority.
On the same day, Victoria's Auditor-General reported to this parliament that the state government has "no documented whole of government policy and plan for managing the risks of climate change." Thankfully his tenure is secure.