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Drought is not just west of the great dividing range. This is an issue east of the dividing range as well. Rainfall is at record lows. Temperatures are at record highs.

I am running for Cowper. Port to Kempsey to Dorrigo to Coffs. In Cowper and it’s surrounds, we have about 8.5k people in primary industry. Just under ten percent of the workforce. Overall, the cities and towns in Cowper make up a place half the size of Canberra. The National Party is letting these people down. The National Party is letting down rural and regional Australia. The National Party is letting down Australia full stop.

What causes drought? A warming planet. Changing weather conditions. A dry earth and land clearing. And what we’re doing only makes it worse. Under this federal government, there has been no action on climate change. Under this government, there has been little to no assistance for farmers to adapt. Under this federal government and state liberal and national state governments in Queensland and New South Wales, there has been wanton land clearing.

Since white man came, we have lost two thirds of our vegetation. Trees equal rain. Trees equal moist soil. Trees equal carbon capture and reducing green house gases and a cooler planet. We need more vegetation, lots more, not less.

What’s the answer from The Nationals? More coal fired power. What’s the answer from the Nationals? Dirty, dangerous and expensive nuclear power. Oh, and what’s the other answer from The Nationals? Making Barnaby Joyce a drought envoy. That human leaf blower is going to wander the country like a gypsy peddling his excuses while being the chief champion of making it worse. Has there ever been a greater example of putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank. What a joke.

And what’s Scott Morrison’s answer? To pray for rain. I have a Master in Environmental Management from one of the world’s leading schools on climate. No where in my four years of study at UNSW IES did I learn that prayer was the answer to the drought. I am an active member of LEAN – Labor Environment Action Network. Prayer is not on our agenda. Real action on climate change is on our agenda. Federal leadership on the environment is on our agenda. New environmental laws and institutions are on our agenda. A return to the basic principles of preserving ecosystems are on our agenda. No party of government in this country is more realistic, engaged and active on a sustainable future.

We need to move forward. Barnaby Joyce is a big part of the problem. Scott Morrison is a big part of the problem. The Nationals are a big part of the problem. The Liberals are a big part of the problem. Australia we have a problem. It is the government.

Scott Morrison says his target of 26 percent carbon emissions by 2030 will be achieved in “a canter”. That is rubbish. That is a lie. For the last three years carbon emissions in Australia have increased. On current trajectories under this government, carbon emissions will reduce by only four percent.

This a death sentence for Australia’s farms. This is a death sentence for rural and regional Australia. This is a death sentence for Australia. This is a death sentence for our planet.

There is an answer. There is a better way. Let me tell you the answer. A Shorten Labor Government in Canberra. A Foley State Government in Sydney

Federal labor will:

• Accelerate the adoption of renewable energy to 50 percent by 2030

• Reduce emissions by 45 percent by 2030

• Make Australia net carbon emissions free by 2050.

We will ensure Australia does its bit to stop the planet overheating. You will hear more about our positive plan for a sustainable future well before the next election. We will work with communities, industries and unions on this transition. We will help people in need. We will set agriculture on a course to sustainability. We will diversify our regions. We will act on climate change. In commend this urgency motion to conference knowing Labor will deliver a positive, prosperous and sustainable future.


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Updated: 15 September 2018