WA Liberal leader David Honey has raised concerns about the Albanese Government’s plans to legislate an “aggressive” 43 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, which he said risked “enormous harm” to the State’s economy.
With Federal Parliament sitting for the first time since Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s election victory in May, a Bill enshrining Labor’s emissions target in law is expected to sail through the House of Representatives by the end of next week.
Mr Honey said it appeared Labor looked set to convince the Greens and crossbench to rubberstamp the “extremely concerning” legislation in the Senate.
“Everyone I think recognises that we need to decarbonise the economy (but) a 43 per cent reduction in eight years is an enormous challenge,” he said.
“You’re talking about trillions of dollars of expenditure over an eight year period and even achieving that is enormously hard.
“Western Australia is disproportionately the largest energy user per (capita) because we have such massive industries in the state.
“How are we going to reduce (emissions by 43 per cent) and not harm our state economy?”
My concern is this target is so aggressive that it will only be achieved with enormous harm.
Mr Honey called on Premier Mark McGowan to explain whether he supported legislating Federal Labor’s target – and how he believed the reduction could be achieved in WA without severe disruption to the resources sector.
“I’m all for stretch goals (but) my concern here is that it’s a legislated minimum,” Mr Honey said.
“Let’s see what flows out of this. Are we going to see new taxes? Are we going to see penalties for industries who can’t achieve it?
“I’m talking about all of the major businesses that have their offices down the terrace here: Rio Tinto, BHP, Woodside, Wesfarmers – can they all achieve that?
“My concern is this target is so aggressive that it will only be achieved with enormous harm.”
Climate and conservation groups have claimed Woodside’s emissions-intensive Scarborough gas project would make it far more difficult the Albanese Government’s target to be achieved.
Both Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King and Mr McGowan have backed the $16 billion project to but Mr Honey questioned whether it was compatible with the emissions reduction goal.
“We definitely need that project – there is desperate need for the natural gas around the world,” Mr Honey said.
“So exactly how does that project go ahead if you’re trying to achieve this target?
“This is something I think which is actually above partisan politics. How do we actually achieve it?
“We need to see the detail. It’s fine having aspirations but how do you do that without really seriously impacting on the quality of life that people have?”