ACOSS welcomes Labor climate action plan but calls for greater focus on equity

ACOSS welcomes Labor’s climate change plan to tackle dangerous climate change, but greater ambition, focus on equity and on building climate resilience, is still needed.

“Climate change hits people living on low-incomes or experiencing disadvantage first and hardest and failing to act will create greater poverty in the future, therefore an economy-wide plan to cut emissions like what Labor is proposing is critical,” ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said.

“While Labor’s climate change plan and targets are very welcome in the face of ongoing inaction by the Coalition Government, the level of ambition is likely to fall short of what is needed to protect people and the planet.

“Australia can and must achieve net zero emissions well before 2050, at a minimum Labor should commit to review their targets before 2025, consistent with the Paris Climate Change Agreement review periods.

“ACOSS is also concerned that political leaders are falling short on ensuring the transition to clean energy and economy is equitable and inclusive.

“There are 3 million people who live in poverty in Australia. They pay disproportionately more of their income on essential services, like energy, and cannot afford or access solutions like energy efficiency, solar and batteries.

“So far, Labor’s policies are aimed at the middle class, and while the Greens have some policies targeted at low-income earners, unless there are polices and market reforms in place to make our energy system fairer and more inclusive, energy could become the new poverty divide.

“Our political leaders should be backing mandatory energy efficiency standards in rental properties, investing in energy efficiency, solar, batteries in all community housing, and providing a fund for low-income home owners.

“Parties have also failed to prioritise climate adaptation and resilience, despite the rise in frequency and intensity of extreme weather, like fire, drought, floods and heatwaves, which is already impacting on people’s homes, livelihoods, health, quality of life and employment.

“Climate change hits people living on low-incomes or experiencing disadvantage first and hardest. They have the fewest protections from climate change impacts, live in the most affected places and have fewer resources, less money, choice, power and social connections to cope, adapt or recover.

“Resources and policies are needed to help people, communities and community organisation become more resilient to the climate change already occurring and further change already locked in,” Dr Goldie said.