Election Frenzy in South Australia and Tasmania

With South Australia and Tasmania heading to the polls in the coming month, DEA members in both states have been busy trying to highlight key issues and get the various parties to commit to action on these.

The South Australian election is shaping up as one of the most uncertain in years with Nick Xenophon and his SA Best Party looking to steal a significant amount of power. However, it is strongly positive that the Premier has described this election as a referendum on renewable energy, proposing 75% renewables and 25% storage by 2025.

DEA in SA are in the process of finalising a letter to be sent to all candidates. The letter uses a scorecard approach to rate each of the four major parties against a list of actions that DEA believes are essential or beneficial in addressing the health impacts of climate change. These include: acknowledging the urgency and seriousness of responding to global warming; recognising that health is a serious outcome of global warming; supporting stricter emission standards for road vehicles; supporting the development of public transport; enhancing emergency and hospital services for extreme weather events; offering incentives to establish environmentally sustainable businesses; opposing new fossil fuel exploration and development; and opposing the NEG which will encourage coal generation, inhibit renewables and impair meeting our Paris commitments.

The issues also include some particularly relevant to South Australia: supporting the Carbon Neutral Adelaide initiative; supporting electric vehicle manufacture in SA; banning new oil exploration or development in the Great Australian Bight; a moratorium on gas exploration in the South East of the State; and banning the burning of coal seams for gas in Leigh Creek.

A comprehensive issues paper on the Tasmanian Election has been prepared which draws on DEA policy to indicate needed action by the Parties. Key issues addressed include: 

  • Climate change: “the greatest threat to global health of the 21st century”;
  • Energy policy: underlining or undermining health and environmental sustainability for Tasmania?;
  • Tasmanian Health Service: environmental sustainability, waste minimisation and energy conservation;
  • Active transport: a prescription for good health and environment policy;
  • Health Impact Assessments - the health factor;
  • Aquaculture in Tasmania: missed opportunities to create the world’s best practice for health and the environment;
  • “If in doubt, turn it off”: unconventional and coal seam gas exploration and mining in Tasmania;
  • Forests and biodiversity: fundamentally linked to human health;
  • A healthier future for the takayna/Tarkine;
  • Coal mining in Tasmania: unhealthy and unwanted

Tasmanian DEA members have been disappointed by the lack of new climate policy on offer from the major parties. DEA has highlighted in The Mercury some aspects of health and climate change. Whilst the ALP has made some positive noises about increasing renewable energy capacity, emissions mitigation, climate mitigation, active transport and healthy urban design have largely gone unmentioned. And disappointingly, neither major party has shown any interest in protecting Tasmania's unique takayna/Tarkine region - though many members were heartened to join a great turnout for a rally in Hobart for this important cause on Saturday 25th Feb.

Whatever the outcome of these elections, DEA will continue to address the Parties and candidates to try to gain traction on these various strategies. 

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