Submission on Zali Steggall’s Bill by the Metung Science Forum

The Metung Science Forum (MSF) believes that the Australian Federal Government should develop a clear pathway to net zero emissions by 2050. This pathway should be clearly based on science and should encompass specific strategies to reduce greenhouse  gas emissions and address both mitigation Zali Steggall’s Bill Submission from Metung Science Forum and adaptation. It is important to the Australian economy that the pathway should not incur taking unreasonable risks that may result in Australians being left with “stranded assets” or expensive “white elephants”.

The pathway should be clearly transparent to the Australian people, both in principle and with regards to the success and progress of its strategies. Whereas it should primarily take a long-term perspective, it should nonetheless be capable of amendment if required to achieve its objectives.

Our Forum believes that achieving and managing a plan that satisfies the above criteria is currently an extremely unlikely possibility in our political system where governments put too much weight on the political decisions they feel they must make to:

• Retain party political solidarity,

• Satisfy powerful lobby groups,

• Maximise political donations and

• Win the next election.

The truth of this statement is obvious from the recent history of climate policy in Australia where we see partisan politics given greater consideration than the science which should underpin policy. We have witnessed numerous Climate Change policies introduced and then not proceeded with and we have seen perfectly reasonable climate initiatives introduced by one government repealed by the next government. We are obviously no closer to resolving these problems and MSF believes that the only resolution is to have a clearly identified system of overseeing progress on climate change policy which is independent of partisan politics.

Any such body established to achieve this objective needs to be transparent and to report back to the Australian Parliament and the Australian People at regular intervals. It is the right of the general community to be able to fact check statements and claims made by their representatives in government. For the reasons detailed above MSF supports the Climate Change Bill introduced to the House of Representatives on 9th November 2020 by independent member Zali Steggall.

*The Metung Science Forum is a forum for progressive science and evidence-based discussion of climate change and related issues for the people of Metung and surrounds. As a group we are not politically aligned with any particular party, but have come together to support each other in understanding and respecting science. We promote evidence-based solutions to problems faced by our community, Australia and globally, and we will support selected organisations and individuals who actively engage with local, state and federal governments. Contact with the Forum may be made at PO Box 128, Metung, Victoria, 3904 Phone 0419 018 505