For those Australians who are prioritising animal welfare and environmental policy this election, we have compiled a list of key issues that need addressing, as well as each major party’s stance on the issues.
Australian Election Guide for Animal Welfare and the Environment
Where Do Our Parties Stand in 2016?
The Australian Election Day is Saturday, July 2, 2016. It is important to know who and what you are voting for in this coming election. In Australia, our democratic system means that a political party must have the support of a majority of the members in the House of Representatives in order to claim the right to govern the nation.
** My Green World is not aligned with any one political party and this guide does not intend to influence voting decisions. My Green World simply seeks to provide voters with the relevant information for them to make informed decisions at the ballot box.
Key Environmental and Animal Welfare Issues for 2016:
Australia now has 1,872 animals, plants and ecosystems that are threatened with extinction, and our national treasure; the Great Barrier Reef, is threatened by severe coral bleaching. At a time when Australia finds itself in the midst of an extinction crisis, our government’s policy settings continue to take us in the wrong direction. Climate change, habitat loss, endangered species, coral bleaching, coal and gas projects and pollution are issues that need immediate and significant action.
Australian animal welfare laws, standards and practices are outdated and are failing Australian animals. In 2013, the Australian Government withdrew funding for the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy; animal welfare science research was dropped, departmental and administrative structures removed, and mechanisms to provide independent advice to the Government were dissolved. The Australian Government has a key role to play in leading and coordinating progress in the development of animal welfare policy and standards, scientific research, and national educational initiatives. Issues such as greyhound ‘live baiting’, factory farming, free-range labelling, kangaroo culling, live export and animal experimentation are just some of the key concerns that require significant attention and action this election year.
The below items provide a brief policy overview pertaining to animal welfare and environmentalism for Australia’s three major political parties. For a more comprehensive list, please visit the links embedded.
Environmental Policy for the Liberal Party of Australia:
>Implementing the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan.
>Promising to double renewable energy in Australia over the next four years. Under the Renewable Energy Target, more than 23 percent of Australia’s electricity will come from renewable energy by 2020.
>Establishing a $1 billion Clean Energy Innovation Fund to support emerging technologies make the leap from demonstration to commercial deployment.
>Setting a target emissions reductions of up to 28 percent by 2030 based on 2005 levels.
>The Government has provided $2.55 billion to establish the Emissions Reduction Fund, with further funding to be considered in future budgets.
>Investing $1 billion in natural resource management through the National Landcare Programme.
>Will continue to deliver on their $50 million commitment to plant 20 million trees by 2020, with almost 10 million trees already committed for planting over the next three years.
>Launching Australia’s first Threatened Species Strategy and the appointment of Australia’s first Threatened Species Commissioner.
Animal Welfare Policy for the Liberal Party of Australia:
>No commitments to further Australia’s animal welfare policy.
The Liberal Party says that it will commit to a maximum 28 percent emissions reduction, which has been criticised for being too low, as well as unachievable. Turnbull’s environmental record so far has been less impressive. Since he stepped into the role of Prime Minister, CSIRO has faced significant cuts to their climate science research program and he’s still supporting non-renewable resource investments, for example, the $15.4 million for a new Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Growth Centre. The Liberal Party has also put in place an historic ban on capital dredge disposal in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park – ending a 100-year-old practice. However, this ban will not apply to maintenance dredging of existing projects nor will it apply to the reef’s whole world heritage area. Furthermore, the Australian Academy of Science has slammed the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan as being completely inadequate. Animal welfare is not considered in the Liberal government’s policy framework. For a more comprehensive look at the Liberal Party’s policy, click here.
Environmental Policy for the Australian Labor Party:
>Committing to 50 percent renewable energy by 2030.
>45 percent emissions reduction target by 2030, against the government’s 26-28 percent target.
>Introducing new emissions standards for motor vehicles to reduce emissions in the transport sector.
>Labor has set a net zero carbon pollution by 2050 (consistent with the Paris Agreement).
Animal Welfare Policy for the Australian Labor Party:
>Establish an Independent Office of Animal Welfare
>Committed to banning animal testing in Australia for cosmetic purposes and ban the sale in Australia of cosmetics and cosmetic ingredients that have been tested on animals.
>Establishing an independent Inspector-General of Animal Welfare
>Renewing the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy
The Labor government will use the Climate Change Authority’s recommendation of a 45 percent reduction in pollution by 2030 (on 2005 levels). This is similar to the strong action other countries are taking. Germany (the world’s 4th largest economy) is setting a 45 per cent target and the UK (the world’s 5th largest economy) is using a 61 percent target on the same 2005 levels. However, critics have accused the Labor party’s emissions reduction goal as being ‘pure fantasy’. For a more comprehensive look at the Labor Party’s policy, click here.
Environmental Policy for the Australian Greens:
>Introducing a 50 percent refundable tax credit for individuals to assist with the cost of household solar energy storage systems. A grant scheme is also available for those on low incomes. Up to 1.2 million homes could be supported over the five years of the program.
>Create a Clean Energy Transition Fund to assist coal workers and communities with the transition.
>Implement pollution intensity standards to enable the gradual, staged closure of coal-fired power stations, starting with Australia’s dirtiest — Hazelwood.
>Ensuring no new coal or gas projects are established.
>Re-implement a carbon price, but this time around coal and gas exporters would have to pay the full-cost of the greenhouse gases that leak from mining operations. The Greens will insist on no more free permits or giveaways to big polluters.
>Implementing a thermal coal export levy to reduce incentives for coal companies to ship as much as they can from the port, at whatever price they can get.
>Establish a new $500 million government authority – RenewAustralia – for at least 90% renewable energy by 2030
>Re-invest into the Reef: boosting funding for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Australian Institute for Marine Science.
Animal Welfare Policy for the Australian Greens:
>Establish an Independent Office of Animal Welfare (IOAW)
>End the live export trade by increasing processing in Australia to support local producers and create local jobs
>Ban cruel cosmetics
>Establish an accurate national labelling system of products that identifies cruelty-free, free-range, organic, and free from content derived from habitat destruction.
>Upgrade standards for farming practices for all agricultural animals which reflect commonly understood definitions of free-range and other ethical treatment of animals.
The Greens want a 63-82 percent equivalent cut to emissions and 90 percent renewable energy by 2030. This is higher than both the ALP and the Liberals and is to be expected for an environmental political party. Their commitment to animal welfare is stronger than both ALP and the Liberals, but not as comprehensive as the Animal Justice Party. For a more comprehensive look at the Greens policy, click here.
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