Coalition

Test 1. Policies to ensure clean renewables power 100% of Australia’s electricity by 2035, and 100% of all Australia’s energy before 2050?

Score

2 / 5

Comment

The Coalition supports the current RET, which will deliver 33,000 gigawatt hours of renewable energy by 2020 (equates to about 23 per cent of current electricity production). To be reviewed (per legislation) in 2020. Announced $1bn Clean Energy Innovation Fund "to encourage new technology to assist in the transition to clean energy". This funding was transferred from CEFC.

Announced development of Low Emissions Technology Roadmap to be led by the CSIRO. Through this work, CSIRO will highlight areas of potential growth in Australia’s clean technology sector, map the development of new emissions reduction technologies, and identify opportunities to be part of future global energy supply chains.

"We will build on our successful Solar Towns programme by investing $5 million in an expanded Solar Communities programme. Our commitment will deliver funding of up to $15,000 (including GST) to community groups for the installation of rooftop solar PV, solar hot water, and small scale renewables on community owned buildings. For the first time we will expand the programme to include battery storage systems. Our Solar Communities programme will mean practical support for local organisations, such as surf lifesaving clubs, scout halls, bowling clubs, YMCA centres, Men's Sheds, local historic societies, Country Women's Associations and community sports centres."

The Coalition will create a new $1 billion fund focused on improving reef water quality. The fund will provide up to $1 billion in debt and equity finance over 10 years for clean energy projects that help tackle climate change and improve water quality. The fund will be managed by the CEFC, and has been created by taking funding from the existing CEFC budget. Since this fund is simply a re-badging of existing CEFC funding it is not clear how it will deliver any additional clean energy projects beyond what was already possible through the CEFC. Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4


Test 2. Double the energy productivity of Australia’s economy by 2030?

Score

2 / 3

Comment

Released National Energy Productivity Plan with target to improve Australia’s energy productivity by 40 per cent between now and 2030.

"The Government will lower the threshold of the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Programme from 2,000 to 1,000 square meters, which will see an additional 1,000 commercial buildings now disclose their energy efficiency when they sell or lease their property. This will help inform purchasers and tenants of building energy costs, delivering more than $50 million in energy savings, and around 3.5 million tonnes of emission reductions over five years. This change will commence 1 July 2017."

"As Chair of the COAG Energy Council, the Coalition Government has also led the way in establishing new priorities for improving appliance efficiency through the Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) programme." Source 1, Source 2


Test 3. Retain the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Australian Renewable Energy Agency with existing or additional resources?

Score

1.5 / 3

Comment

Committed to retain and reinvigorate the CEFC and ARENA. Established the $1 billion Clean Energy Innovation Fund, jointly managed by CEFC and ARENA, after attempt to abolish both was blocked by the Senate. This announcement maintained both bodies, but took $1 billion funding away from CEFC, removed ARENA's important grant making function, and reconfirmed the intention to remove the remaining ARENA budget of approx $1.3B. Source 1, Source 2, Source 3


Test 4. Introduce vehicle fuel pollution standards by 2017 to bring Australia into line with EU standards?

Score

0.5 / 1

Comment

Established Ministerial Forum to examine vehicle emissions standards in Australia and vehicle testing arrangements. Working group will report by 31 March 2017 to the Ministerial Forum on a draft implementation plan for new measures. No specific commitments have been made. Source 1


Test 5. Stop public subsidies to polluting fossil fuel industries?

Score

0 / 3

Comment

Budget showed no reform of the Fuel Tax Credit subsidy, which will cost Australians almost $26.5 billion over the next four years. No change to aviation fuel excise concessions which subsidise the fuel of the aviation sector; will cost Australian taxpayers $5.4 billion over the next four years.


Test 6. Phase out uranium mining?

Score

-1 / 1

Comment

Coalition supports expansion of uranium mining.


Test 7. Advance a new approach for the responsible and transparent management of Australia’s radioactive waste?

Score

1 / 3

Comment

Coalition is committed to consent basis for a new domestic waste dump but has also given public support to the international waste dump proposal.


Test 8. Stop new uranium sales and nuclear cooperation agreements?

Score

-1 / 1

Comment

Advancing sales deals to India, UAE and Ukraine.


Test 9. Set pollution targets to progressively reduce our pollution and enable Australia to reach net zero climate pollution by 2050 at the latest?

Score

2 / 5

Comment

Coalition has committed to 5-25% reduction on 2000 levels by 2020 based on the ambition of global agreement. Despite conditions being met to increase to higher target in this range, has maintained target of 5% by 2020. On track to meet and beat this target with benefit of Kyoto carryover. Announced target before Paris COP of 26-28% reduction on 2005 levels by 2030 (19.5% on 2000 levels). Analysis has shown that if others do the same share of action it would be consistent with 3-4°C of global warming. The target leaves us at the back of the pack among other developed countries. As part of Paris COP agreement, the government agreed to reach net zero in the second half of this century. Source 1, Source 2


Test 10. Policies and programs that are effective, durable, scalable and able to achieve the goal of reducing Australia’s climate pollution to net zero by 2050 at the latest?

Score

2 / 5

Comment

The centrepiece of the Coalition climate policy is the Direct Action Plan and $2.55B Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) that directly funds carbon reduction from business and industry through reverse auctions. To date, 67% of this fund has been spent on three auctions, but only 7% of the emissions reductions needed for the 2030 target have been purchased. No additional funding was provided in 2016-17 budget. In addition, the safeguard mechanism which ensures that emissions reductions purchased by the government are not offset by significant increases in emissions above business-as-usual levels elsewhere in the economy does not capture the biggest polluters and is not a mechanism to drive down climate pollution. In summary these central policies are expensive, ineffective means of meeting our 2030 pollution reduction target and are not driving changes in the energy sector which is the greatest contributor to climate pollution in Australia. The Coalition is also "implementing a National Energy Productivity Plan, reducing emissions from ozone-depleting gases and supporting investments in new technology such as solar storage." 

Providing $3.1 million for the CSIRO’s National Geosequestration Laboratory to research the commercial development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) under the CCS Research Development and Demonstration Fund. Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4


Test 11. Keep and adequately fund the independent Climate Change Authority, or similar independent authority that advises the government on climate change?

Score

0 / 1

Comment

Climate Change Authority only has funding guaranteed until the end of 2016. No new funding in the budget. Source


Test 12. Commit our fair share of funding – $550 million in 2016-17, growing to $1.6 billion by 2020 – to the Green Climate Fund?

Score

1 / 3

Comment

In 2014, announced $200m over 4 years for Green Climate Fund out of current aid budget. Source


Test 13. Provide a plan to phase out Australia’s coal-fired power stations, starting with the dirtiest, most inefficient and polluting power stations?

Score

0 / 5

Comment

No policy found.


Test 14. Ensure no new coal mines or coal mine extensions are approved.

Score

-3 / 5

Comment

Coalition is still approving new coal mines (e.g. Adani’s Carmichael Mine). No policy found that indicates approvals will end. The Coalition is investing in the growth of the fossil fuel sector including through $248 million in Australian Government funding over the four years from 2015/16 to 2018/19 for Industry Growth Sectors initiative that includes oil, gas and energy resources (including coal and uranium). Source


Test 15. Allocate funding for social and economic transition plans to retrain people who work in regions affected by the closure of coal operations, providing new opportunities for these communities?

Score

0 / 3

Comment

No policy found.


Test 16. Introduce a federal plan to bolster mine rehabilitation securities from liable companies?

Score

0 / 1

Comment

No policy or commitment found


Test 17. Leverage investment and increase the amount of carbon securely stored in biodiverse natural landscapes in line with the goal of net zero carbon pollution by 2050?

Score

1 / 5

Comment

The government's Emissions Reduction Fund has invested in biodiverse carbon stores but has serious limitations in its application, funding, additionality and prioritisation of investments.

The ERF totals $2.55 billion investment over ten years. The majority of projects have been devoted to carbon farming, however limited funds remain and there is no specific commitment in budget papers or otherwise to additional funds for continued operation. Current funding under the ERF will not be anywhere near sufficient to meet net zero carbon pollution by 2050. Source 1, Source 2


Test 18. Maintain funding for the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility?

Score

0 / 1

Comment

The Australian government has committed $9 million over three years (2014-17) to NCCARF, but there is no further funding beyond 2017. Source


Test 19. Introduce a national strategy and standards for sustainable and resilient cities and urban centres?

Score

2 / 3

Comment

The Smart Cities Plan includes: "The establishment of an infrastructure financing unit to work closely with the private sector on innovative financing solutions; and committing $50 million to accelerate planning and development works on major infrastructure projects to develop business cases and investment options." 

The Smart Cities Plan will also include:

  • Investment of up to $100 million a year in a Sustainable Cities Investment Fund, to be managed by the CEFC, intended to accelerate the deployment of clean energy, renewable energy, and energy efficiency technology in cities. This funding is to come from CEFC's existing budget allocation and does not include any new funding;
  • A $50 million competitive Smart Cities Program for local governments to collaborate and apply innovative technology-based approaches to improve the liveability of cities and their suburbs;
  • A Western Sydney City Deal, which will be a planning, investment and delivery partnership; and
  • $50 billion on road and rail projects across Australia.

Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4


Test 20. Provide funding support for state and local government implementation of adaptation strategies?

Score

0 / 1

Comment

No funding commitment.


Test 21. Provide an effective national system of nature protection laws to protect and improve the health of Australia’s air, land, water and biodiversity by December 2018?

Score

0 / 5

Comment

One Stop Shop policy currently proposes to devolve federal approval powers and does not maintain federal standards or lead to any improvements in environmental health. Source 1, Source 2


Test 22. Expand Australian government oversight of climate issues, water resources, native vegetation and reserves within 12 months of taking office?

Score

0 / 3

Comment

No formal policy or commitment. One Stop Shop policy will reduce, rather than expand, federal government oversight of these issues.


Test 23. Ensure the federal government has direct responsibility to regulate projects that impact on matters of national importance?

Score

-3 / 3

Comment

One Stop Shop policy currently proposes to devolve federal approval powers. Source


Test 24. Establish and adequately resource an independent statutory authority to administer our national environmental law by December 2018?

Score

0 / 3

Comment

No formal policy or commitment.


Test 25. Ensure greater public access and accountability under national environmental law, including open standing provisions and merits review of decisions within 12 months of taking office?

Score

-1 / 1

Comment

Current policy is to repeal extended standing provisions under the EPBC Act. Source


Test 26. Commit $1 billion annually by 2018 in a National Environment Fund?

Score

2.5 / 5

Comment

Current spending in 2016/17 Budget: Administered Funds for Outcome 1.1 Total – $373,066m (made up of $230m in NHT, $9.9m environment stewardship, $89m Green Army, $39m Reef Trust Special account. Overall reduction in National Heritage Trust Funding to $188 million to 2018 (reduction $42m) and total administered reduction of $33m to $340m. New money for Reef 2050 in 2016 budget allocated out of National Landcare program, new money for Reef Trust does not occur until 2019 ($40m in 2019-20, $15m in 2020-21 and $15m in 2021-22). Additional money for 20 million trees ($70) already money within NHT allocation.

Announced $30m for local parks and environment – $24 million for public open space, $5 million for community solar projects and $1 million for outboard motors for lifesavers.

Committed to $50m to help farmers continue to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

Committed to $8.8m for Yellow Crazy Ants in World Heritage Area.

Committed to $5m for Threatened Species Fund. $0.5m for Tasmanian Devil Program. $6m to tackle crown-of-thorns starfish on the Great Barrier Reef. Funding for Local Environment Plans for Mayo, Fairfax and Cooks River Recovery. 

The Coalition will create a new $1 billion fund focused on improving reef water quality. The fund will provide up to $1 billion in debt and equity finance over 10 years for clean energy projects that help tackle climate change and improve water quality. The fund will be managed by the CEFC, and has been created by taking funding from the existing CEFC budget. Since this fund is simply a re-badging of existing CEFC funding it is not clear how it will deliver any additional clean energy projects beyond what was already possible through the CEFC. It also unclear how the fund will work to effectively and efficiently tackle water quality impacts within the catchments of the Great Barrier Reef. Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4


Test 27. Rule out logging, mining and other unsustainable land and sea uses in Australia’s World Heritage Areas?

Score

0 / 1

Comment

"Protection of Australia’s national and world heritage is a fundamental pillar of the Government’s environment policy. Our natural, Indigenous and historic heritage enhances our sense of place and national identity and makes a positive contribution to the nation’s wellbeing." Source


Test 28. Introduce national policies and regulations to protect and restore ecosystems along the Great Dividing Range, including establishing the Great Forest National Park?

Score

1 / 3

Comment

Current 20 Million Trees and National Landcare program partly achieve this, but investment is not sufficient and program design is questionable for the Green Army. No commitment to establish Great Forest National Park. Source


Test 29. Create new tax incentives for the management and restoration of ecosystems on private land?

Score

0 / 1

Comment

No formal policy or commitment.


Test 30. Increase funding for Indigenous Protected Areas, scaling up to $30 million per annum by 2020 as part of a National Environment Fund?

Score

0 / 1

Comment

No budget commitment to maintain or increase funding for Indigenous Protected Areas beyond 2017.


Test 31. Commit to supporting the employment of 5,000 Indigenous rangers by 2025?

Score

0 / 1

Comment

No budget commitment to maintain or increase funding for Indigenous Rangers beyond 2017.


Test 32. Provide commitments to the expansion of sustainable tourism and renewable energy initiatives across northern Australia to benefit local communities?

Score

0 / 3

Comment

No explicit commitments or consideration of appropriate criteria yet for the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to enable this.


Test 33. Deliver the commitments made under the Murray Darling Basin Plan on time and in full, including the delivery of outcomes equivalent to 3,200 gigalitres in environmental water?

Score

3 / 3

Comment

The Coalition has publicly committed to implementing the Murray Darling Basin Plan “on time and in full.” Source


Test 34. Provide a plan to reward private landholders for managing floodplains to produce environmental benefits for the river system?

Score

0 / 1

Comment

No formal policy or commitment


Test 35. Adequately resource the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder to build and deliver its critically important portfolio of environment water?

Score

0 / 3

Comment

In the the 2016 Budget funding for the CEWH is forecast to effectively run out in 2017-18. Source


Test 36. Support and fund a science-driven program to eradicate invasive European carp in the Murray-Darling Basin?

Score

1 / 1

Comment

Commitment to funding and implementing a science led program to tackle invasive Carp. Source


Test 37. Revitalise national water reform in Australia and set out a road-map for the recognition of Indigenous water rights?

Score

0 / 1

Comment

Abolished the National Water Commission. Proposed to construct more dams with $2 billion loan facility. Amendments to Water Act do not include provisions for Indigenous Water Rights. Source 1, Source 2


Test 38. Introduce a well-resourced and complete system of annual national and regional environmental accounts by 2019?

Score

0 / 1

Comment

No formal policy or commitment.


Test 39. Expand the mandate of the Productivity Commission to explicitly include environmental issues?

Score

0 / 1

Comment

No formal policy or commitment.


Test 40. Introduce transparent and independent analysis of the social, economic and environmental costs and benefits of all major projects by 2017?

Score

0 / 1

Comment

No formal policy or commitment.

 

 

How did we calculate these scores?

We measured the policies of each party against 40 tests set out in ACF’s National Agenda 2016. The tests are grouped under three broad headings: clean energy, cutting pollution and protecting nature. Together, these are the policy commitments we believe are required to protect people rivers, reefs, forests and wildlife for future generations.

We have ranked the 40 tests into three categories: critical issues (worth 5 marks), priority issues (worth 3 marks) and important issues (worth 1 mark). For each policy offering, we decide how many of the total available marks to award on the basis of how completely the policy fulfils our test. In some cases, such as where a policy unwinds existing environmental protection, we award negative marks. The total score out of 100 is our assessment of the strength of the party’s overall policy offering as it relates to the issues in ACF’s National Agenda. In the case of the minor parties on our scorecard, we haven taken into account their lesser relative capacity and have looked for strong in-principle commitments to deliver the policies our tests require, rather than detailed policy design. We have not assessed policy which falls outside our agenda.