We always knew 2022 would be a big year of politics for South Australia. With a trifecta of elections at the federal, state and local government levels and coming off the back of a two-year global pandemic, no one could predict what would happen.
There was a landslide at the South Australian election in March this year, and the new Malinauskas Labor Government has since formed a working majority in upper and lower houses. Saturday night saw a similar but perhaps not quite as speedy outcome for the Labor Party at the Federal level. On Monday this week, Prime Minister Albanese was sworn in by the Governor-General. We now see ourselves here in South Australia with Labor state and national leadership for the first time in nearly a decade.
One surprise of this federal election is the rise of the ‘teal independent’ – those candidates primarily campaigning on a platform of climate action. Climate change has historically not been a significant campaign issue for the major parties, but perhaps it should have been?
This new phenomenon of neither blue nor red comprises predominantly female candidates who have taken the seats of formerly comfortable prominent Liberal MPs. Their shared goal is to put climate action at the forefront of the next government.
The new Albanese Labor Government promised during the campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 43 per cent by 2030, based on 2005 levels. Labor’s Powering Australia plan promises direct financial support for measures that improve energy efficiency within existing industries. They state that this plan will see electricity costs for businesses fall, mainly supporting electricity-intensive industries.
Labor has promised to upgrade the electricity grid to fix energy transmission and drive down prices. They will make electric vehicles cheaper, rollout more solar banks around Australia and install more community batteries. They have promised to invest in 10,000 new energy apprentices and a new energy skills program that ticks the box for climate action and addresses Australia’s skills mismatch.
Over the coming years, we look forward to working with our peak body in Canberra, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the state chambers around Australia to hold the government to account to deliver those promises for the Australian business community.
Here at Business SA, we have been increasingly hearing from our members that this is a priority for them too.
Soon we will be releasing the results of a recent climate change survey undertaken as part of the Business SA William Buck Survey of Business Expectations. Spoiler alert: 72 per cent of respondents put climate action as a priority and 63 per cent have already done something about it in the past 12 months.
While climate change has previously sat in the realms of ideological debate, we are rapidly moving out of that era. We are moving into one where practical transformative action in business meets increasing customer, stakeholder and financier expectations and provides a return on investment.
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