FCA chief executive officer Wendy Cohen said the government could have simultaneously created good jobs in regional and rural communities while tackling climate change – but it instead chose to use taxpayers’ money to prop up the fossil fuel industry.
Farmers for Climate Action (FCA) is a movement of about 5000 farmers and graziers and tens of thousands of other supporters, which is working to ensure regional Australia is part of the solution to climate change.
“A clean, renewables-led recovery could have put the Australian economy on a more solid and sustainable path to recovery, tackling the pandemic and the rising risks of climate change at the same time.
“The federal government has failed to meet the moment with this budget, with the smattering of climate-smart initiatives swamped by the billions in taxpayers’ subsidies for gas and other fossil fuels,” she said.
“It’s not as if they didn’t have good examples to follow.
“Earlier this year the European Union seized the opportunity, investing more than $800 billion in everything from renewable energy to low-emissions agriculture and electric cars,” Ms Cohen said.
“Per capita, that’s almost nine times more than the Australian government proposes to invest in a climate-smart economy.
“FCA welcomes investment in resilience-building under the Future Drought Fund, as well as new Budget initiatives, such as cleaner energy in food manufacturing, rural mental health, incentives for microgrids in farming communities, and new efforts to build a recycling industry,” she said.
“All of these initiatives can help rural and regional communities adapt to climate change and prosper in a low-emissions world, but they do not deal with the drivers of climate change.
“In Australia and worldwide, 2020 has once again shattered records, how many more megafires will it take to wake our politicians up?
Ms Cohen said more extreme weather is already costing Australian farmers money.