I’ve moved this amendment because the science says that we should be hitting at least 50 per cent, preferably 60 per cent, by 2030 to help keep global temperatures below two degrees and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees. I went to the election believing, based on modelling and evidence, that 60 per cent is a realistic target within that time frame, but I appreciate the consideration that the minister has given me and other members of the crossbench and this opportunity to move an amendment that I believe strengthens the language of this legislation.
In the course of conversations with the minister about this bill, I advocated strongly for 43 per cent to be explicitly noted as a floor, not a ceiling, when it comes to carbon emissions. This plain language is necessary I believe to prevent ambition from being thwarted, to make sure that there are no unintended consequences of this law that limit our future capacity to be brave and innovative, and to lead on climate policy. I’m pleased that the minister has indicated his readiness to accept this suggestion of the addition of a note on page 5 to make it clear that the legislation does not limit Australia’s ability to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions beyond 43 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. This will have some legal force, but, as the Supreme Court of Victoria has stated:
Nonetheless, the amendment that I am proposing makes it clearer that there is opportunity to go beyond the 43 per cent cut in carbon emissions supported by this government.
I urge the minister to take a further look at the initial proposal when considering further legislation, but for now this is a substantial step forward. To those members of my community who wanted a more ambitious target, I say this: this bill provides a means for that ambition; without a guiding principle, it is difficult to progress. So, in my mind, this is very much a start, not a finish.
I thank the minister and the government for the collaboration, and I look forward to being ambitious and brave together. I commend this amendment to the House.