Regional communities impacted by climate change will benefit from strong emission reduction targets

ACOSS urges the the Federal Government including the Nationals to get behind deeper emission cuts this decade to protect regional communities without further delay and welcomes Zali Steggall’s amendments to her private member’s Climate Change Bill to cut carbon pollution by 60% by 2030.

ACOSS CEO, Cassandra Goldie, said “We urge the Nationals to get behind a strong target – like the 60% by 2030 in Zali Stegall’s Bill – to ensure regional communities are protected from devastating climate change impacts.

“Regional communities have particularly felt the brunt of devastating climate change impacts. Agricultural profits fell by 23% since 2020 – largely due to climate impacts. The 2019-2020 horror bushfires, followed by severe floods and storms in Queensland, NSW and Victoria saw tragic loss of lives and homes. Combined with more severe and prolonged drought and water shortages, people in regional communities are suffering and are fearing worse is to come.

“Strong emission cuts this decade give us a better chance of avoiding more dangerous climate impacts and protecting regional communities.

“Strong emission cuts combined with a fair and inclusive plan will support workers and industries transition, strengthen regional communities, tackle poverty and inequality and rapidly reduce emissions.

“A fair, fast and inclusive plan  lead to more affordable, healthier and reliable energy, housing and transport, and create an economic and jobs boom.

Regional communities can benefit the most from new job opportunities in carbon sinks, hydrogen, renewable energy, and energy efficiency rollouts.

“We know from expert modelling that to keep warming at 1.5 degrees Australia must do its fair share and reduce climate pollution by 75% by 2030 and net zero by 2035. It’s clear Australia’s current targets of 24-26% by 2030, with no date for net zero, won’t cut it!

“The Nationals, and the Federal Government’s current target, are increasingly out of step with the action and commitments of our trading partners, state, territory and local governments, business and farmers, and what communities want to see happen.

“The longer we delay action on climate change the higher the social and economic costs.

“As world leaders gather together in two weeks, Australia has the opportunity to go from laggard to world leader by cutting pollution and creating healthier, thriving communities and economy.”

See also the Community Sector Climate Change Declaration, released last week which includes statements from more than 100 community service organisations, many of whom provide essential services to people in regional communities every day.