10 May 2019
Social sector organisations have banded together to urge political parties and candidates to commit to strong action to respond to the climate crisis, and clear policies that will support local communities particularly people living in poverty who are being hit hardest by climate change effects.
ACOSS CEO, Dr Cassandra Goldie said: “Community groups representing people being hit hardest by energy prices and the effects of the climate crisis have backed the need to cut emissions by at least 45% by 2030, with the electricity sector transitioning further and faster.
“We are also calling for clear commitments about support for people and communities to adapt to the harsh effects of climate change already underway.
“This election there’s a lot of talk about costs but hardly any discussion of just how much the climate crisis is costing people, especially people on low incomes.
“Global warming is not only a threat to our environment, it threatens homes, livelihoods and health, especially for people who are struggling to get by.
“People in poor energy efficiency homes or living on the streets suffer during heatwaves, which cause more death than any other natural disaster.
“Cyclones, fires and floods put lives at risk, they also leave people homeless and create or worsen poverty. People may have no or inadequate insurance, unscrupulous landlords may put costs of rent up, or they may have inadequate support and infrastructure in a community.
“People on low-incomes or experiencing disadvantage do not have the means to adapt, cope and recover from the worsening impacts from the climate crisis.
“The climate crisis and a slow, poorly managed transition to zero net emissions is a major threat to achieving our shared vision to end poverty, inequality and exclusion; and to create a fairer and more sustainable future.
The joint Social Sector Climate Statement calls on the next federal parliament to support a range of policies including:
– Support communities to develop local adaptation and resilience plans, including funds to develop an Australian climate change social vulnerability map.
– Support for improving energy efficiency in existing homes like mandatory energy efficient standards for private rental and public housing.
– Emissions reduction targets of at least 45% by 2030, and zero net emissions before 2050.
The Salvation Army’s General Manager of Policy and Advocacy, Jennifer Kirkaldy, says: “The Australians most vulnerable to the effects of climate change are those who are already suffering hardship and disadvantage.
“The Salvation Army works closely with disadvantaged Australians and with communities who have been devastated by natural disasters. In Australia and internationally, The Salvation Army strongly supports action on climate change.
“Immediate and sustained action, across the economy, is needed to safeguard our communities from the worst effects of climate change. We ask all our parliamentary leaders to take action and prioritise protecting Australia’s most marginalised from the effects of climate change.”
Samantha Page from Early Childhood Australia said, “Children are asking adults to act, they know their future is at risk, it is time for political leaders to look beyond the short-term election cycle and make decisions in the interests of future generations.”