Where do the parties stand on nature and our climate this election?
We sent three critical policy questions to every candidate in the key seat of Boothby on the topics of climate action, nature and species loss, and radioactive waste management.
Responses were received from Labor, the Greens, Animal Justice Party and Jo Dyer (Independent). All other parties declined to respond.
Read their full answers to each question below (candidate responses listed in alphabetical order by surname).
1. Together, we must protect people and nature from worse heatwaves, bushfires, droughts and storms fuelled by climate warming, and look after communities most impacted by climate change. To achieve this, the science tells us we need to slash climate pollution this decade. Will you commit to reducing carbon pollution by 75% below 2005 levels by 2030 and to reaching zero emissions by 2035?
Animal Justice Party
Yes. As the only party fighting for the rights of animals, the environment is at the heart of everything that the Animal Justice Party stands for. Our party's vision states that human society must operate within our planet's ecological limits. Unlike the other parties who only talk about the transission to renewables to achieve net zero, we are focused on the holistic causes of the climate crisis, including the 15% of emissions in Australia that are caused by animal agriculture. The Animal Justice Party's stated policy target, not only supports a commitment to achieving net zero by 2035, but specifically looks at achieving a reduction of methane by 30% by 2030.
Yes on 2030 - see below on 2035. I definitely commit to reducing carbon pollution by 75% by 2030 and would be happy to have Net Zero emissions by 2035 as a goal. I am not sure, however, that Net Zero by 2035 is realistic given how behind we are in decarbonisation because of our Long Lost Decades of inaction. My firm commitment is to achieve Net Zero by 2050.
Yes. We are undeniably in a climate emergency. Australians are already experiencing the impacts of climate change and the Australian Government has the imperative to urgently and drastically reduce emissions this decade in the interest not only of our people and nation, but for communities across the world. For this reason, the Greens are strongly committed to a 2030 target 75% emissions reduction on 2005 levels, and net zero by 2035. We have a comprehensive plan to realise these targets, which includes:
- No new coal and gas, and putting an end to fossil fuel subsidies;
- Supporting mining workers and communities transition to a decarbonised economy by creating long-term sustainable industries and ensuring people do not lose work;
- Large-scale public investment in renewables infrastructure, including supporting households and small business to transition to electric alternatives; and
- An electric vehicle revolution to support the uptake of EVs, with financial incentives, charging infrastructure and a strong regulatory framework.
The Greens’ complete plan can be read in full here.
Partial yes. We are facing a climate crisis, but have lost a decade to climate inaction under the Liberals. I’m committed to being part of a government that delivers real climate action. Labor will cut emissions by 43% by 2030, keeping us on track to achieve net zero by 2050. Our comprehensive Powering Australia Plan will boost renewables to 82% of energy in the NEM by 2030, create 604,000 jobs, spur $76 billion of investment, and cut power bills for families and businesses by $275 a year for homes by 2025.
2. Australia is losing more biodiversity than any other developed nation. We are spending just 7% of the minimum $1.6 billion required to halt species loss and recover threatened species. Do you support significantly increased federal government funding for nature and the protection of threatened species?
Animal Justice Party
Yes. Again, as the party whose very purpose is to advocate for the rights of animals, we are fully committed to ensuring that Australia spends far more on reversing species loss, ending habitat destruction and increasing biodiversity. Our election manifesto clearly outlines our plans to end species extinction, as well as to protect our native wildlife icons, such as the koala and the kangaroo. Another key election pledge is the establishment of an Independent Office of Animal Protection with the aim of ensuring that all animals are given protection and rights under law.
Yes. Our environment is in crisis, and to protect it, we must restore our landscape, protect our native forests, and clean up our rivers. The Greens are committed to a Zero Extinction by 2030 target - meaning no more species loss, restoring ecosystems and protecting habitat from land clearing and degradation. We will push the Government to commit to the international goal of protecting at least 30% land and 30% sea by 2030 – 30x30.
However to reach these targets, increased funding is critical.
To put this goal into action, our Green Australia Plan will invest $24.4 billion over the next decade to restore habitat, regenerate forest and bushland, coastal areas and rivers and reclaim green spaces in our cities and suburbs. Our Green Australia Plan will:
- Protect all threatened wildlife and species and save them from extinction
- Plant 2 billion trees by 2030
- Restore bushfire ravaged forests and bushland
- Clean up our rivers, lakes and beaches
- Invest in our public parks and conservation areas
- Stop invasive species and weeds
- Fund local communities to restore nature spots, create green spaces and protect local wildlife
- Support farmers and landowners to create and restore habitat on private land.
In balance of power in the new parliament, the Greens will also work to reform our environmental laws so they can adequately protect our environment from destruction and corporate greed. This includes the establishment of an Independent Environment Watchdog to enforce strong environmental standards. Our Green Australia policy can be read in full here.
Yes. I am appalled by our lack of investment in the protection of our biodiversity. Not only is protection of our wonderful flora and fauna important for its own sake, it also directly impacts on our own health and livelihoods.
Partial yes. Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate in the world, and iconic species like koalas are under serious threat. To help stop species loss, Labor will establish a Saving Native Species Program. The $224.5 million funding boost will help arrest species decline and restore populations of endangered plants and animals. It will also help clear the backlog of overdue recovery plans – which is important to make sure we take action to stop extinctions.
3. The Federal radioactive waste facility proposed for near Kimba is opposed by the region’s Barngarla Traditional Owners, many grain producers on the Eyre Peninsula and the new SA State Government. If elected, will you pause and review the current plan and seek to work constructively with these parties to advance responsible radioactive waste management for Australia?
Animal Justice Party
Yes. Whilst the Animal Justice Party supports any energy generation that helps Australia reduces emissions and helps us reach net zero as soon as possible, it has to also be safe. The Animal Justice Party is in favour of reviewing the current plans for a storage facility on the Eyre Peninsula and would work with all levels of government, Indigenous Owners, local farmers and the broader community to ensure that any storage facility meets the needs of all stakeholders.
Yes. The Greens have pledged to fight against South Australia being a dumping ground for nuclear waste, with agricultural communities and Traditional Owners alike objecting to the proposal. A radioactive waste dump in the heart of our food bowl puts at risk our clean, green reputation and our state’s key grain export industry. We must prioritise the protection of land, livelihoods and cultural heritage, and the Greens will keep fighting against this proposal.
The nuclear waste dump site selection process was fundamentally flawed and fell way short of international best practice and failed to secure the consent of Traditional Owners, The Barngarla people.
The Federal Government has no mandate to situate a radioactive waste management facility in South Australia. The community of Kimba have been significantly impacted by the ongoing mismanagement of the site selection process.
It is imperative that all stakeholders within transport corridors in South Australia, every community impacted by the potential thoroughfare of nuclear waste should be fully informed of the relevant costs and benefits, throughout the transport chain, and offered the opportunity to have their say on the proposal.
The proposed double-handling of intermediate-level radioactive waste is not consistent with international best practice. Alternatives should be canvassed, including the suspension of the Kimba site selection until a permanent disposal site can be identified for ILW. The Greens call on the Federal Government to halt the process and establish a full inquiry into all radioactive waste management options, which has never been conducted.
Yes. It is ridiculous that the Federal Government is proceeding with a proposal that is opposed by so many key stakeholders, most significantly the Traditional Owners. Hopefully if a Voice referendum is promptly passed by a referendum in the term of the next Parliament as outlined in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, the requirement for dialogue with Traditional Owners on matters such as this will be no longer be discretionary.
Partial yes. Labor is proud to have worked with the Barngarla people to block legislation which would have removed their right to seek judicial review of this waste site. We worked with the Barngarla people and consulted with them extensively to achieve the legislative outcome that they wanted. Labor only supports a facility to storage radioactive waste which has broad community support.
Australia votes on 21 May 2022. Click here to find your nearest polling station.