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‘Port Arthur moment’: Business urges PM to lead on climate amid bushfire crisis

The Business Council of Australia said there was a need for “credible” climate policy. “Climate science tells us that extreme weather events and natural disasters will become more frequent and intense so we need a credible climate change and energy policy that puts us on a transition path to net-zero emissions by 2050,” the influential industry body said in a statement.

Square Peg Capital partner Paul Bassat has described the bushfire crisis as a 'Port Arthur' moment.

Square Peg Capital partner Paul Bassat has described the bushfire crisis as a ‘Port Arthur’ moment. Credit:Wayne Taylor

Australian Industry Group’s Innes Willox said climate policy needs to be environmentally effective, create the least-cost for abatement, avoid damaging competitiveness, and reduce uncertainty for investors.”Ongoing consultation with those affected, including with business, is critical,” he said.

Mr Morrison, in a lengthy interview on Sunday, said there was “no dispute” that climate change was causing “longer, hotter, drier, summer seasons”.

“In the years ahead we are going to continue to evolve our policy in this area to reduce emissions even further,” he said.

Energy Australia’s managing director Catherine Tanna said there were opportunities for improvement to existing energy policy that would see new dispatchable generation and cleaner energy built by the private sector.


“The ultimate aim should be to provide customers with reliable, affordable and cleaner energy, no matter where they live or what they earn. So long as there’s willingness to consult, debate and compromise, we can fix energy,” she said.

Chief executive of insurer IAG Peter Harmer said everybody needed to take responsibility for climate change. It was critical for all levels of government to work with communities, non-government organisations and businesses to minimise the immediate impact and plan to mitigate the long-term impacts, he said.

“IAG (and the US National Center for Atmospheric Research) recently released a report showing that our climate is changing more quickly than many have predicted,” he said.

“We know that rising temperatures will lead to dramatic changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather in Australia. In this context we believe we need a co-ordinated national approach to build more resilient communities and reduce the impact of disasters.”

Billion-dollar valued human resources startup Culture Amp founder Didier Elzinger said Australia was seeing the effects of not taking climate change seriously, but it appeared the government was “opening themselves up to” changing policy.

“Policy should help support the leadership agenda and the leadership agenda should be about making real change,” he said.

“If you look at it through the lens of leadership in the last year, I think there’s more people in private spheres stepping up to show leadership than in [the] public [sector]”.

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