2013 State election policy priorities of the
WA Civil Society Climate Roundtable
The WA Civil Society Climate Roundtable is a coalition of churches, unions, community groups, aid organisations, environmental groups, youth organisations and social service providers who support strengthened government action to address the causes and effects of climate change.
Roundtable members recognise that climate change is already having a profound impact on Western Australian people, communities and the natural environment. These impacts are disproportionately felt by people living on low incomes, in regional areas, and in developing nations. Roundtable members also recognise that strong action to tackle carbon pollution in Western Australia can deliver significant benefits for communities, including increasing employment, improving transport, ensuring food security and reducing the cost of living.
The Climate Change Roundtable notes that WA is per-capita the highest polluting state of the world’s highest polluting nation. Since 1990, WA’s gross carbon pollution has risen by 63%, and developments planned over the coming decade are anticipated to more than double emissions again.
The Roundtable supports a national price on carbon pollution. Members also recognise that State and Local Governments have an important responsibility in reducing carbon pollution through implementing policies that complement a carbon price, and in adapting to a changing climate.
Roundtable members are concerned that the WA Government’s response to climate change has been inadequate to date.
Current policies leave Western Australian communities vulnerable to climate impacts and fail to capitalise on significant opportunities to reduce carbon pollution and develop new clean industries in WA. The WA Civil Society Climate Round Table calls on all political parties and candidates in Western Australia to commit to a strengthened response to the causes and impacts of climate change in Western Australia. In particular, the Roundtable has identified the following priority areas for policy reform in the next term of Government.
Energy production, supply and use
Roundtable members recognise that carbon pollution from energy production is the single greatest driver of climate change, globally and in Western Australia. Our state has abundant renewable energy resources including wind, wave, solar and geothermal energy, as well as significant innovation, technology and engineering expertise. These opportunities could form a basis of a clean energy economy with significant sustainable employment opportunities in manufacturing, design and construction industries, especially in regional areas, and co-benefits to our health through reduced pollution.
Roundtable Members urge the State Government to adopt the following policy priorities in the energy sector:
1. Develop a comprehensive strategy to maximise WA’s renewable energy potential. This strategy should enable growth in energy consumption to be met through renewable energy generation and must maximise renewable use in government, households and industry;
2. Introduce an ambitious strategy to improve energy efficiency in households and the commercial sector to significantly increase economy-wide energy productivity in the state. This will include government, residential, business and industry level energy efficiency and demand-management programs, and a strategy to integrate distributed generation into Western Australia’s energy network;
3. Create an Independent Energy Advocacy Body representing residential and small business energy consumers, in order to develop and promote more socially and environmentally sustainable energy policies for Western Australia.
Transport and the built environment
Roundtable members recognise the important role that improved transportation and urban design can play in reducing carbon pollution growth, with transport of people, goods and services in WA accounting for 14% of total greenhouse gas emissions.
The Roundtable urges candidates and political parties to commit to the following measures that will both reduce carbon pollution and promote health, improved amenity and liveability of our urban environments:
1. A comprehensive, ambitious, and fully funded strategy to maximise access to public transport. This includes urban light rail, as well as high speed public transport between major regional centres. New residential development must be transport-oriented, including concentration of urban growth and amenities around transport nodal areas and gradient of housing density and infrastructure around transport centres. The State Government should ensure that funding is set aside so that the Public Transport for Perth in 2031 plan is fully funded;
2. Introduce best-practice building and urban design codes for energy and water efficiency in new homes and urban developments, and to develop a comprehensive program to improve energy and water efficiency in existing homes, with an emphasis on providing assistance for low-income households;
3. Foster and promote active transport modes such as cycling and walking to reduce pollution and improve public health. This includes significant further development of the Perth Bicycle Network, as well as improving pedestrian access through enhanced urban design standards in commercial and residential areas;
4. Ensure that growth in freight transport is met by rail, and that Tier Three rail networks are retained through the next term of government.
daptation and food security
Roundtable members recognise that Western Australia’s communities, environment and food security are highly vulnerable to climate change, and that the state is already experiencing some of the most significant impacts of a changing climate globally.
Climate change threatens our unique natural environment including Southwest forests, pristine coastlines and marine ecosystems. A hotter, drier climate is already causing serious impacts on agricultural production and water supplies, while rising seas and greater incidence of bushfires and extreme weather events presents an increasing challenge to vulnerable communities.
The WA Civil Society Climate Roundtable urges candidates and political parties to commit to developing and implementing a comprehensive strategy to assist communities, businesses,agriculture, natural environments, and aboriginal communities to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate. Roundtable Members urge the State Government to urgently adopt the following policy priorities with regards to climate adaptation and food security:
1. Safeguard food security and rural communities by ensuring Western Australia’s agricultural sectors and fisheries are resilient in the face of drier and less predictable conditions and other anticipated climate change impacts. Such measures will support a transition to more sustainable food production systems while ensuring that Western Australians have access to local, affordable and nutritious food;
2. Maximise opportunities, such as generating carbon credits, to enhance the naturalenvironment through tree planting, soil ecology, revegetation and avoided landclearing and disturbance;
3. Enhance the health and resilience of natural ecosystems through strategic enlargement of existing national parks and conservation reserves; a system of wildlife corridors connecting intact natural ecosystems; reducing threatening processes such as land clearing and deforestation, and enhancing the state’s network of marine reserves;
4 Work in partnership with Aboriginal people to enhance the resilience of communities and preserve cultural values, landscapes and knowledge in the face of a changing climate;
5. Develop planning policies with appropriate coastal set-backs to preserve public open space and enhance the resilience of infrastructure and coastal environments to sea-level rise and extreme weather events;
6. Ensure future water security for domestic use and food production by increasing water use efficiency, managing groundwater sustainably, and promoting water recycling for appropriate uses.
WA Civil Society Climate Roundtable Members
Australian Youth Climate CoalitionAn
Anglican EcoCare Commission
Catholic Church Social Justice
The Climate Reality Project
Conservation Council of WA
Council of Churches Western Australia
Transition Town Guildford
Doctors for Environment Australia
Sustainable Energy Now
Uniting Church Social Justice Board