Greens climate policy fast enough, still stronger focus needed on people on low incomes

The Greens climate change plan policy announced yesterday is welcome recognition that we must reduce emissions this decade and achieve net zero emission by 2035. The policy needs to be strengthened to put people and communities with the least at the front.

We welcome the Greens’ policies on housing and income support, which directly address the inequality and poverty faced by people on the lowest incomes in Australia. We now encourage the Greens to also put people with the least first in their climate change plan.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:

“The Greens climate change plan announced yesterday is in line with what scientists tell us is needed by Australia to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. The climate plan still needs to go further to put people most at risk at the front.

“People with the least are impacted by climate change first, worse, and longest, but have fewer resources to cope, adapt and recover from climate impacts or to benefit fully in the energy transition.

“We urgently need a plan to ensure that people experiencing financial disadvantage are at the front of climate solutions and can access clean technologies like rooftop solar, batteries, and electric vehicles and are not disadvantaged by poorly targeted subsidies, levies, and inequitable cost recovery measures.

In addition to the Greens target of net zero by 2035, we welcome the Greens proposals to:

  • Support coal workers and communities with job and wage support and economic diversification
  • End fossil fuel subsidies
  • Create a non-profit public owned energy retailer
  • Establish a future grid fund to connect large scale renewable energy

We urge the Greens to ensure their policies to support energy efficiency, electrification of homes, battery and electric vehicle uptake, prioritise people experiencing financial disadvantage.

We acknowledge the Greens welcome commitments on income support and housing for people with the least.

ACOSS would like to see all parties and candidates to commit to:

  • Invest up to $5,000 in energy efficiency improvements per dwelling for 1.8 million low-income homes, including social housing, low-income rental and low-income homeowners, to cut emissions and energy bills, and create thousands of local jobs.
  • Establish a First Nations Communities Clean Energy Fund administered in partnership with First Nations controlled organisations to invest in clean energy and energy efficiency for remote communities.
  • Create and fund local Community Resilience Hubs that are community-led, engage in building community resilience and assist the community in planning, response, and recovery.

“We could relieve the suffering of millions of people living in sub-standard housing, create jobs and cut emissions if we put people with the least at the front of the solutions to climate change.

See also ACOSS response to the ALP climate policies and Coalition climate policy