Where is the Coalition's Climate Adaptation Plan?

In Estimates, Abigail pressed the Treasurer about the Coalition's failure to produce a climate adaptation plan. All they have is a plan to have a plan - the very plan they promised six years ago.

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: I am going to move you on. Could we talk about the climate adaptation plan that you have failed to deliver for the last six years? I have asked you about this in the last two budget estimates. In 2016 it was announced we would have this plan. In 2017 it was promised. In 2021 we had a scathing report from the Auditor-General, saying how terrible it was that this Government was not prepared adequately for climate disasters and did not have a climate change adaptation plan. Every other State has it. Queensland also announced they would have one in 2016. They put theirs in place in 2017. Now we have a floods report handed down praising the Queensland Government for what they have been doing. When I asked you about this in November last year, I said to you that without a climate adaptation or readiness plan, we will be playing catch-up when it comes to responding to natural disasters. You agreed with that. But then, when I asked you about it again in February this year, I said: Would we have been better prepared for the current floods if we had a statewide adaptation plan? You said: I do not think so. I think that floods, particularly in northern New South Wales, are a frequent event. Having now read the flood inquiry report—

Mr MATT KEAN: Is that a quote from me?

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: That was a quote from you.

Mr MATT KEAN: When was that, sorry?

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: That was Monday 28 February 2022.

Mr MATT KEAN: I am not sure of the context of that. You are throwing a quote at me, not necessarily in context. Let me be very clear, I have also been very clear in all my public comments that the extreme weather events that are becoming more frequent and more severe are a direct result of climate change. I've been on the public record for some time—whether it be fires or floods or droughts. So please don't—

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: I will give you the rest of the context.

Mr MATT KEAN: —mischaracterise my position on that.

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: I wouldn't. The context is I then said: This is the worst in well over 100 years. You responded: This is a terrible flood. But floods in Lismore are not unusual; that is the reality. Does that help you with the context?

Mr MATT KEAN: Where was that? Was that in budget estimates?

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: Yes, it was.

Mr MATT KEAN: Let me be very clear that what we did see was a very unusual flood event impacting the whole Northern Rivers, and these are becoming more usual because of the impacts of climate change. I want to be clear about my position on this, and the Government's position, which is why on 12 June this year I handed down the State's adaptation strategy and backed it in, in the budget, with real money.

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: Okay, but that's a strategy. That's a plan to have a plan. That's not the plan. Your Government promised that we would have the actual plan in 2017. All the other States and Territories did it. You've now announced, with great fanfare, a plan to have a plan. Do you regret New South Wales not having had a plan back in 2017? Wouldn't we have been better prepared for the floods if we had?

Mr MATT KEAN: I think we should always be looking at ways that we can do better when it comes to tackling climate change. This Government has one of the most ambitious climate agendas anywhere in the
country—any government. It's not a Greens government; it's a Coalition Government that is tackling climate change head on with one of the most ambitious renewable energy policies in the country and, on a per capita basis, in the world. Our net-zero plan, our climate adaptation strategy, our EV strategy—

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: I'm out of time, but I will look to the Chair.

Mr MATT KEAN: We are very proud of our record when it comes to tackling climate change and taking advantage of the huge economic opportunities that come with that.


You can read the full transcript here.

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