Wentworth cares deeply about environmental protection and the State of the Environment Report laid bare the huge challenges facing nature in Australia. The environment has therefore been one of my top priorities since entering parliament and I've met regularly with the Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek, as well as a broad range of stakeholder and conservation groups.
What have I done so far
- Strengthening Nature Repair: During the June 2023 sitting period, I joined my crossbench colleagues in significantly strengthening an important piece of environmental legislation. My amendments to the Nature Repair Market Bill will mean more investment goes into projects that protect and restore nature. They will ensure that conservationists and investors can have confidence that projects which they support lead to positive outcomes – and are not just offsetting environmental destruction somewhere else.
- Ending Native Forest Logging: Native logging is bad for our environment, bad for our climate, and cost NSW taxpayers $29 million in subsidies in the last two years. I have asked the Environment Minister in Question Time to end this destructive practice and joined the crossbench in an open letter calling on her to take action. Whilst the Environmental Minister has now committed to bringing native logging under tougher environmental laws, I will continue to push for a nationwide ban.
- Stopping Plastic Waste: It’s staggering that three million tonnes of packaging is sent to landfill each year – and each piece takes up to 1000 years to break down. I wrote to the Environment Minister to urge tougher action and we have now seen some positive announcements. These include: mandatory packaging standards and targets (including for recycled content), development of a national roadmap to help harmonise kerbside collection, and progress on reducing plastic waste from the fashion industry.
- Preventing Sea Dumping: Durin the June 2023 sitting period, it was deeply disappointing to see the government and opposition vote in favour of legislation to support unreliable and unproven carbon capture and storage technology, designed to facilitate the expansion of new gas projects. Myself and other members of the crossbench put forward a series of amendments that would have prevented the bill from supporting fossil fuel expansion, but the major parties teamed up to block them. This was a sobering reminder of how much work we still have to do to protect our environment and our climate.
- Stopping Fossil Fuel Exploration at PEP-11: I know people in Wentworth are strongly opposed to plans to drill for oil and gas off the coast of Sydney. I have been a vocal opponent of this project in parliament and have met with the Minister for Resources several times to emphasises Wentworth’s opposition to the proposals.
- Strengthening Environmental Laws: The Samuel Review made clear that our environmental laws are not fit for purpose and I'm engaging with the government on reforms to the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, which I expect will be brought forward later in 2023 or early 2024.