Australian Climate Change Act – necessary repairs & strengthening

As of 21 May 2022 Australia voted in a reform government which promised strong action on climate change, integrity, strengthening of the economy and much more.

The experience in the subsequent 130 days is patchy:

  • kept on dunderheads and malevolents from the Turnbull/ Morrison/ Frydenberg/ Kennedy 2015 – 2022 crypto-fascist degradation of democracy
  • made excellent progress on repositioning Australia’s world repute
  • mis-stated Australia’s ability to change sea levels and maintained a nuclear submarine path that is “fruit of the poisoned vine” – Morrison’s attempt to manipulate President Biden but Biden’s clever counterstrike
  • rejected fairness and professionalism and in particular maintained a budget and policy stance that damages Australia’s future.

The NCAC legislation is markedly better in quality than is the Climate Change Act.

Update 16 November 2022

The call to integrate climate change incentives, penalties and prices into a coherent direction is farcical in a country where corrupt budget-makers exclude climate mitigation from the peak policy statement in Australia as the Treasury puts the status of the Budget.

Update 5 November 2022

The Budget was as superficial and corrupted as was predicted and as reported on the adjacent page. The Federal and State governments have put up pinball-sized capital amounts for mitigation and without a “plan” and back-up data-reporting and engagement. By comparison President Biden’s program is reported to be producing solid advances.

The pressure is on the PM to keep his promises and to no longer dissemble especially at COP27 in Egypt:


This is the second recent attempt to provide clever patches to Albanese’s legislation in core priority areas ~ implementing OECD and even brilliant Australian precedents of successful urban and regional transformation in the direction needed for “climate change mitigation” and AUKUS opportunities (if they eventuate).

The essence is as promulgated previously – repair the past, observe “rule of law” in planning the future, engage with the best people including repatriating exiles from Morrison’s malevolence, and hosing out the detritus from the Aegean stables.

The world finds itself on the edge of a precipice, a climate crisis which demands massive economic restructuring and changed attitudes, on top of a pandemic that has killed millions and smashed economies, growing in menace and threatening regional “resilience” and continuity.  They are parallel challenges in that understanding local and regional dynamics is key to reducing viral transmissions and to replacing concentrated carbon manufacturing.

The Australian Climate Change Act 2022 is a signature initiative which spearheads the charge to reducing carbon emissions by 63 per cent or more by 2030 compared to 2005’s level.  It establishes a range of processes which sound theoretically sound but need to be assessed against practical experience as a blunder-checking precaution, to “get it right from the off”.  This is especially so as we have a history of capricious and incompetent backroom climate and Budget blunder-making and a lack of regime changeovers in Canberra’s deskilled executive structures.  Negotiations in Parliament seemed to be between parties who did not have access to sufficient skills and experience.

Indeed, to work out how to get there includes working-back from the patterns behind the targets and gaining support for the practical elements of the transition including trustworthy budgetting in line with outcomes, not set as “gifting”, and reliable, timely and uniform data.  In particular it depends on maximum utilisation of available financial and human resources.  It requires an understanding of past successes , as in the world’s fastest and arguably most successful de-carbonisation, Newcastle NSW.  There is “no one size fits all” and replacement manufacturing employment is likely to be less than 30 per cent of total new employment.  The rest, where it eventuates, will be more dispersed than previously.  It is important to start as fast as possible as delays and gaps accumulate.

The 2022 Federal Budget is destined to exclude repair , camouflage dysfunctions as well as neuter the most productive ideas.  The question is, will the Government “repair” that and ensure robust arrangements for the Climate Change Authority to work within?

By contrast the eastern seabord of Australia has a ports and logistics network which is unsustainable and even unviable in major respects, hindering wider regional adaptation due to continuing poor planning, silo-thinking and refusal to repair mistakes made in the 2000s onwards.  Metropolitan congestion is in the same boat as current transit programs are poorly designed and over-concentrated in existing corridors instead of in fringe growth areas (given consolidation policies are weak).

Gaps and missed opportunities are highlighted in the following.  There are pieces from earlier works as this campaign started as Save Sydney and has evolved with the times, into Save Australia, the country I love.

Prosperous communities are healthy communities.  The Act should have included specific related matters as being subject to authority if not influence:

To reduce carbon emissions in the long-term and permanently is to

  • Stop current avoidable carbon activities, in situ and in export markets;  and constrain new extraction and export of carbon products in-line with on-and-offs within IEA’s trajectory
  • Replace carbon usage with renewable sources in existing and new establishments such as supermarkets and office buildings but also transport modes and movement patterns etc
  • Stimulate the more dispersed users of carbon to be aware of renewable options and facilitate their adaptation
  • Restructure governance values and systems to be supportive of new ways of thinking, where now councils are typically wary of citizen NIMBYism and restrict business expansion (even tourism in Cronulla, a famous multi-variate beachside suburb of Sydney)
  • Reliably measure trends in all such changes so as to feed back appropriate data for reporting nationally and internationally and to make ongoing measures “proportionate, focussed and scalable”.

There used to be an essential management notion of “feedback”, meaning that as you go along the implementation path, you know of any emerging problems and can fix them.  That was possible because projects were chosen through a cycle of management, political, engagement and Parliamentary legitimisation phases.  Often times the best ideas were implemented.  Now, the PMs have classified operational documents as “cabinet”, to be locked away for 40 years. 

The dominant political mode nowadays is for a populist leader to choose a project that suits him or her, present it in a glossy brochure where any numbers are made-up, and proceed without Parliamentary or electoral mandate.  The guard posts of probity had been neutralised and the media conditioned to accept simple measures of success like “cranes in the air”.  The community loses confidence in “outcomes”.  The best ideas were never implemented.

ResPublica put it this way in Restoring Britain’s City States:

What has so far been achieved in Manchester and Sheffield signals the beginning of a differential and incremental process that can, in time, lead to full place-based devolution and provide a template for other cities in the UK.

Cities simply lack the necessary control over public resources to shape and design services in order to achieve distinct local outcomes.  Consequently, many local communities and individuals experience a system that provides overly prescriptive and reactive services, deeply disjointed and fragmented, with multiple points of access, assessment and referral but with limited continuity of care between agencies and providers. This situation disincentivises local co-operation as delivery organisations compete with each other unnecessarily.

It results in wasteful duplication of ineffective activity across services. It limits innovation and the capacity to adapt to local variations, leading to unintended policy outcomes – solving easier-to-help problems but entrenching others – and, ultimately, poorer services at higher costs. Most importantly, it frustrates the public and undermines the quality of the services they receive, resulting in poorer outcomes and a reduced trust or belief in local and national governance to actually deliver public goods.

This is one of the greatest challenges of both climate and corona reform, re-activating scientific and medical but also local community energy

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