Labor

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

3.5 / 5

Comment

Labor has committed to growing the renewable energy sector beyond 2020 by adopting policies to deliver at least 50% of our electricity generation from renewable sources by 2030. Labor has committed to providing the CEFC with more certainty and flexibility, deliver more funding for ARENA, establish a Community Power Network, and make the Commonwealth a direct purchaser of renewable energy. "A Labor Government would engage with industry, experts, investors, scientists, researchers and consumers to put in place the most appropriate policy settings for the period 2020-2030." "Labor in Government would announce the proposed design details by 1 October 2017 with legislation governing post-2020 arrangements to be introduced to Parliament in late 2017." Committed $206 million for concentrated solar funding round through ARENA. 

Announced a "comprehensive plan for renewable energy in Australia", which includes the following existing and new commitments:

  • 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030;
  • Up to 10 Community Power Hubs across the country to boost small-scale renewables;
  • Adequate funding for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA); and
  • Expanding the investment mandate of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

Will directly drive investment in renewable energy by working with energy providers to enter into Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) equal to bringing Commonwealth energy use up to 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030. These would be 10-15 year contracts, and would provide the certainty needed for long term investment in the renewable energy sector.

Additional detail on community renewable energy commitment includes: "$98.7 million toward the creation of up to ten Community Power Hubs in the areas of most need, which will deal with the challenges of implementing renewable energy solutions. The Hubs will work with local communities to support the development of renewable projects, by providing legal and technical expertise as well as start-up funding. The Hubs will also explore innovative methods of finance for low-income earners and pensioners, including using council rate payments as contributions for projects." Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4, Source 5


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

Score

3 / 3

Comment

Labor is committed to double energy productivity by 2030. Source 1, Source 2


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

Score

2.5 / 3

Comment

CEFC was legislated by Labor in 2012 with funding of $10 billion over 5 years with funding starting from July 1, 2013. ALP Climate Change Action Plan has committed to restore flexibility to CEFC by broadening investment mandate to make tech neutral and setting appropriate targets for investment. Will lock in investment mandate for full term of next Parliament. Committed to work with new ARENA Board and to provide $206.6m for concentrated solar funding round. No commitment to restore grant function or full $1.3 of remaining original funding. But, after budget reply: "ARENA is fully funded for 2016/17 but we recognise that the balance of funds and programs needs further consideration to ensure that we have what is actually required to achieve our targets for the renewable revolution and deliver on the commitments in our Climate Change Action Plan. On winning Government we will sit down with the ARENA board and work through exactly what is required." 

As part of Renewable Energy Plan, committed to:

  • Adequate funding for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA); and
  • Expanding the investment mandate of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

Commitment to restoring ARENA grant function is still unclear. Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4, Source 5


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

Score

0.5 / 1

Comment

Labor is committed to the introduction of mandatory light vehicle standards to align with US standards--to reduce the emissions intensity for all light vehicles from the current 192g CO2/km to 105g CO2/km in 2025 through the implementation of mandatory standards. These standards will be phased-in from 2020. Source


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

Score

0 / 3

Comment

No policy found.


Test 6. Phase out uranium mining?

Score

-1 / 1

Comment

Current policy allows expansion of uranium mining. Source


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

Score

2 / 3

Comment

Labor supports the same process as the Coalition for selecting a domestic waste site but federal Labor policy is opposed to any international waste dump. Source 1, Source 2


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

Score

-1 / 1

Comment

Labor has supported the sales deal with India and not strongly contested other sales deals. Source


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

3.5 / 5

Comment

Initially committed to 5-25% reduction on 2000 levels by 2020 and set 5% target from this range while in government. Has maintained 5% target despite conditions having been met for increase (reference in Climate Change Action Plan). Endorsed Paris Agreement, and to ensure Australia does its fair share, committed to a net zero pollution target by 2050; a target of 45 per cent carbon pollution reduction on 2005 levels by 2030 consistent with advice from the Climate Change Authority; to set a 2025 target within a year of coming to government; and to five-yearly reviews to keep policy goals updated and consistent with the latest science and actions of other nations.


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

4 / 5

Comment

Announced a 50% renewable electricity generation goal by 2030, a two-phased internationally linked Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) including a 2018-20 cap on pollution for liable entities; a commitment to double energy productivity by 2030; an electricity modernisation review; and a strategic industries taskforce. Source 1, Source 2, Source 3


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

Score

1 / 1

Comment

Labor established the CCA to provide independent advice on Australia’s emissions reduction targets and to regularly review these targets. Committed to retain CCA including $17.4m over forward estimates to reverse the government's abolition and appropriately resource. 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

"Labor is committed to ensuring Australia's continued commitment to international climate finance, in line with the shared international goal of mobilising public and private funds to assist vulnerable communities address climate change. Labor will ensure Australia works cooperatively with our major trading partners and the rest of the international community on climate change action, adaptation and finance. Labor will not reduce the current allocations for the Green Climate Fund."


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

3.5 / 5

Comment

Labor has committed to develop a long-term plan to ensure the orderly transition of Australia’s energy generation from polluting coal-fired power stations to renewable and clean energy, with a core focus on supporting workers and communities. Electricity Modernisation Strategy will include a managed, predictable long-term process of modernisation for the electricity sector. In addition, ALP plans to maximise the job opportunities from clean energy and clean technology, while also securing the future of critical Australian industries through a Strategic Industries Task Force. This will be supported by a Strategic Industries Reserve Fund of $300m to support the transition of key industries to 2020. Labor will establish a Just Transition Unit in the Department of Environment to co-ordinate the work of different Commonwealth agencies to the implementation of that element of the Paris Agreement. Source


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

Score

0 / 5

Comment

The ALP Platform states that "Australia is both an important producer of established sources of energy, including coal, gas, oil and condensate, and a world-class developer of renewable and sustainable energy technologies." Has committed to provide no public funding for Carmichael, uncertain whether would approve the mine if in government. 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

3 / 3

Comment

ALP climate approach includes Electricity Modernisation Plan to assist the transition of companies, workers and communities in the power sector move to less emissions intensive industries. Source


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

Score

0 / 1

Comment

No policy 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

4 / 5

Comment

ALP's Climate Change Action Plan has committed to capture carbon on the land "by reinvigorating the Carbon Farming Initiative to encourage carbon storage on the land and in agriculture, and taking decisive action to deal with broad scale land clearing." "Will work with stakeholders to develop an appropriate 'trigger' in federal environmental protection laws to cover Australia’s national and international commitments around climate change; Require the adoption of consistent reporting of land and tree clearing across States and the Commonwealth; Reinvigorate the COAG National Vegetation Management Framework; Reinvigorate the Carbon Farming Initiative." Source 1


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

Score

0.5 / 1

Comment

National Platform notes Australia’s publicly-funded science and research agencies should be properly resourced to support their critical contribution to society, productivity and economic growth. Australia’s regional and rural science capabilities, including within publicly-funded research agencies such as CSIRO, are essential. 

Labor has committed to ʺup to $50 million for Reef research, to be allocated through a merit based process between Australia’s Great Barrier Reef researchers at institutes such as: the University of Queensland, the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences, the Bureau of Meteorology, James Cook University and others."

In response to CSIRO 2014 Budget cuts that resulted in the loss of one in five jobs, and CSIRO plans to cut another 275 jobs, including the Oceans and Atmosphere, Land and Water, Manufacturing, and Data61 (IT) divisions, "Labor has publicly committed to using ministerial authority to stop this round of job cuts should we win Government. Labor has also said that we would commission an independent review of the CSIRO’s structure, management and functions."


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

Score

2 / 3

Comment

National platform calls for development of integrated long term strategies.

Labor maintains commitment to their 10-point plan for better cities announced in 2014 that includes: 

  • 1. Investing in properly integrated transport systems involving public transport and roads;
  • 2. Investing in active transport solutions which connect up with public transport, education and employment hubs;
  • 3. Addressing housing affordability through the use of urban planning, land supply and use of incentives;
  • 4. Aligning greater housing density with public transport corridors;
  • 5. Promoting jobs growth in outer suburbs;
  • 6. Promoting jobs growth in middle rings around cities by investing in research precincts around universities and hospitals;
  • 7. Supporting connectivity and productivity through fibre-to-the-premise National Broadband Network;
  • 8. Supporting renewable energy including buildings and precincts that produce their own power in new developments;
  • 9. Enhancing sustainability and resilience of household and industrial water supply and rehabilitating our urban waterways; and
  • 10. Cooperation between governments to promote the development of second or third CBD’s to decentralize jobs growth."

National cycling strategy: Will invest $1.25 million in the Australian Bicycle Council to ensure the ongoing development of a national cycling strategy. Will require that all projects submitted to Infrastructure Australia add another criterion to its assessments – the inclusion of active transport modes including cycling and walking. Will also continue to work with states and territories to consider establishing a new Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport Council, as outlined in the 2013 Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport report. Source 1, Source 2, Source 3


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

4 / 5

Comment

Commitment in the National Platform to improve environmental law.

Labor has committed, in the first 100 days of forming government, to convening "an expert reference group to work in partnership with industry and environmental groups to develop the detail of the new environment laws.

"A Shorten Labor Government will improve environmental protection and streamline the environmental approval process by:

  • Re-establishing the Federal Government’s responsibility for protection of matters of national environmental significance.
  • Retaining Federal Government powers of approval under federal laws.
  • Streamlining assessment processes with States and Territory Governments to remove unnecessary duplication.
  • Developing new frameworks for truly national protection and management of Australia’s natural environment.
  • Exploring options for an independent environment protection structure.
  • Reinstating the principles of democracy, respect and protection of rights for civil society involvement in environmental matters, including funding for Environment Defenders Offices (EDOs), a commitment $10.8 million over four years."

Has committed to "work with state and territory governments and landholders to develop and implement threat abatement and recovery plans for threatened species and ecological communities, while preventing land clearing that will have a significant impact on threatened ecological communities and critical habitats for threatened species. Labor will further improve protections for threatened species and habitats through a strengthening of Australia’s environmental laws." 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

3 / 3

Comment

ALP has committed to establishing a Climate and Landclearing Trigger and to expand the Water Trigger to tight and shale gas. Committed to establishing a National Parks Trigger. Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4


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

Score

3 / 3

Comment

Committed to retaining Australian government oversight.

"The Australian government has an enduring responsibility to protect matters of national environmental significance. Labor has a proud history of national environmental protection laws. These have been instrumental in protecting Australia’s greatest natural treasures for decades. Labor will not support handing approval powers under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 to state and territory governments." Source


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

Score

2 / 3

Comment

Labor has committed to "Explore options for an independent environment protection structure... There is a growing public demand for greater transparency and independence in decision making following on from accusations and confirmed instances of coercion and corruption around project approvals at a political level. There are best practice examples around the world of clear, transparent and robust decision making through independent structures. A Shorten Labor Government will explore how an independent environmental structure could be implemented in Australia." Source 1, Source 2


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

0.5 / 1

Comment

Labor has committed to "re-establishing Commonwealth support to all nine Environment Defenders Offices (EDOs).

"EDOs play a vital role in general environment protection work as well as providing access to justice for individuals and groups who could not otherwise afford to take on large companies whose proposed actions may have adverse impacts on those individuals and communities. This is particularly the case in regional Australia, where the majority of large-scale projects with potentially adverse environmental impacts are carried out.

"Since being elected in 2013 the Liberals have attempted to gag civil society advocates and cut off their access to the courts. Without appropriate resourcing, these groups are left unable to fight the Turnbull Government’s cuts and ideological attacks which are impacting the people and places they represent. Stopping community groups, farmers and NGOs from challenging decisions in the courts is fundamentally undemocratic.

"Registered Environmental Organisations contribute to the preservation of our natural environment and to the health of our democracy."

Labor has opposed the repeal of s487 of the EPBC Act. Source


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

Score

2.5 / 5

Comment

"Labor will protect Australia’s biological diversity through a national system of comprehensive adequate and representative parks and reserves, while using education, regulation and incentives to achieve ecologically sustainable use elsewhere in the landscape.

Labor will work with state and territory governments and landholders to develop, resource and implement threat abatement and recovery plans for threatened species and ecological communities, while preventing clearing that will have a significant impact on threatened ecological communities and critical habitats for threatened species."

"Labor will cooperate with the states, territories and landholders to achieve a net increase in Australia’s vegetation cover, to improve its management and to end broad-scale clearing. Funding of state, territory and landholder projects will be conditional upon appropriate clearing controls being in place"

Labor have committed to "$7.5 million to contain and reduce the Yellow Crazy Ant population in the Wet Tropics of Queensland."

Labor have committed to a "Great Barrier Reef Plan – a long-term, coordinated and resourced strategy." This will be supported by "$500 million over five years, including $377 million of new investment."

Has committed to a $100 million Fisheries Adjustment Package to assist those fishers impacted by the Commonwealth Marine Reserves. Source


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

Score

1 / 1

Comment

Does not support resource extraction in World Heritage Areas. "Labor does not support mining or other resource extraction in national parks and World Heritage areas." 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

1.5 / 3

Comment

Commitment to cooperative policies to deliver net increase in vegetation cover and management. "Labor will cooperate with the states, territories and landholders to achieve a net increase in Australia’s vegetation cover, to improve its management and to end broad-scale clearing. Funding of state, territory and landholder projects will be conditional upon appropriate clearing controls being in place."

Labor has committed to establishing a land clearing trigger and climate trigger and a national parks under national environment law.

Labor has committed "$76.9 million to establish an Australian Institute for Biosecurity to manage the challenges of pest animals, weeds and plant disease incursions on the land and in our waterways and oceans." 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

0.5 / 1

Comment

National platform commitment to "Support employment programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to work on and manage country, particularly through the highly successful Indigenous Ranger and Indigenous Protected Area programs" but no clear funding commitment yet. Source


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

Score

1 / 1

Comment

Labor has committed to doubling the number of Indigenous Rangers employed under the Working on Country Indigenous Ranger Program through an investment of $200m over five years. This sets ranger numbers on an appropriate trajectory to the 2025 target. “The Working on Country program was established in 2007 and currently employs 775 Indigenous people in communities across Australia.  Thanks to further Labor support announced today, that number will double to 1550 Indigenous rangers by 2020-21.” Source


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

Score

3 / 3

Comment

Labor has committed that "Northern Australia has significant social service needs and economic infrastructure requirements. Labor will remove policy and other obstacles for future investment in infrastructure. Labor will encourage sustainable development in Northern Australia that protects the region’s natural environment, its water resources and its many social and cultural assets, while harnessing its potential, including greater use of renewable energy sources. Appropriate investment in water, energy, and transport and communications infrastructure is critical to the future development of Northern Australia."

Labor has committed to "allocate $1 billion from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to a Northern Australia Tourism Infrastructure Fund, to boost partnerships with the tourism sector and committed to provide incentives for investment in new and upgraded tourism infrastructure across the north. The following will be eligible for funding: Projects targeting the expanding Asian tourism market. Projects promoting Australia’s natural environment such as the Great Barrier Reef; Eco-tourism; Indigenous tourism ventures; Event-based facilities including stadia and convention centres; Transport and access upgrades, including for ports and airports.” Source


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

Commitment to the Murray Darling Basin Plan. "Labor supports the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, which will keep the mouth of the River Murray open nine years out of ten and enable the export of salt and sediment from the system. Within legal and physical constraints, the Plan will return enough water to the Basin to protect key environmental sites, including the Ramsar wetland sites." 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

3 / 3

Comment

"The Murray-Darling Basin Plan is a historic agreement that represents a significant step forward in the management of our most important river system. Labor is committed to achieving the plan and ensuring a healthy future for the Murray-Darling, and as such we are fully committed to the role and operation of the Commonwealth Environment Water Holder for the full duration of the basin plan."


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

Score

1 / 1

Comment

"European carp (Cyprinus carpio) is considered one of Australia's major aquatic pests since it spread through the Murray Darling Basin in the late 1980s. Previously held in check by the drought, recent years of flooding rains have resulted in significant expansion of the carp population. I acknowledge the increasing pressure this has placed on our waterways and native wildlife and as such fully support the research being undertaken by the CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory. A Labor government will continue with the plans to control Carp in the Murray-Darling."


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

Score

0.5 / 1

Comment

Labor has stated, "Management of our water resources should be a crucial area of concern for all governments, especially in light of likely impacts from climate change as well as new mining technologies.

"Labor supports economically and environmentally viable water infrastructure projects but also understands we can improve our soils quicker than we can build dams. A Labor Government will place an emphasis on water efficiency and the best possible utilisation of our precious water resources."

Labor has committed to providing CSIRO with a funding of $249 million over four years. Source


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

Score

0.5 / 1

Comment

Labor has stated, "The use of National Environmental Accounts has a fledgling but growing awareness across Australia. The use of environmental accounting methodology places scientific information about our environment into an accounting framework. This allows a better understanding of complex scientific information as well as giving Government a solid framework to evaluate, set and then monitor achievement in the most cost-effective way. While the research is still new in Australia, a Labor Government would be pre disposed to examine this methodology with a view to adopting such a framework." 


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.