House of Representatives Speech- Seniors Morning Tea Isaacs Electorate 2011

Recently I had the opportunity to talk with representatives of the councils of Kingston, Frankston, Dandenong and Bayside in Melbourne's south-east about the Gillard government's clean energy future plan. Many municipalities, including the councils in my electorate, Greater Dandenong, Frankston and Kingston, have already undertaken detailed planning on the implications of climate change for their communities and are taking measures to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. Councils across Australia understand that they need to protect assets and infrastructure in the event of sea level rises and with the increased risk of bushfires. They are giving excellent service to their ratepayers by strategically planning for the future.

Recently I had the opportunity to talk with representatives of the councils of Kingston, Frankston, Dandenong and Bayside in Melbourne's south-east about the Gillard government's clean energy future plan. Many municipalities, including the councils in my electorate, Greater Dandenong, Frankston and Kingston, have already undertaken detailed planning on the implications of climate change for their communities and are taking measures to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. Councils across Australia understand that they need to protect assets and infrastructure in the event of sea level rises and with the increased risk of bushfires. They are giving excellent service to their ratepayers by strategically planning for the future.

This is a particular concern for residents living in Kingston, from Mentone to Carrum, with many residents living within a few hundred metres of the sea. Councils understand that the time for talking about climate change has long passed and it is time to take action. If we do not act on climate change, the implications will be significant. It is time for the opposition to treat the bipartisan target of a five per cent reduction in the 2000 level of carbon emissions seriously and give local governments some certainty. It was great to join with councillors of all political persuasions, council staff and executive officers to answer questions about the Clean Energy Future plan and talk about what councils are doing on the ground. It was also an opportunity to clear up the misinformation spread by the opposition and detail the assistance that will be provided to ratepayers through the Household Assistance Package, the support for businesses across the country and the opportunities available to councils under the Carbon Farming Initiative, the Community Energy Efficiency Program and the Low Income Energy Efficiency Program. Local government has shown tremendous leadership in taking action on climate change. I would like to thank Kingston, Frankston, Greater Dandenong and Bayside councils for participating in the discussions on climate change and for taking the initiative to work towards a clean energy future for their ratepayers.

Last week I also conducted the first of my 2011 seniors morning teas. The morning tea was held last Wednesday at the Mentone RSL and it was a fantastic opportunity to catch up with many constituents. A feature of my seniors morning teas is the fact that politics is usually left at the door and community members have the opportunity to get together for a cup of tea and be entertained by students from nearby schools. The students also valued the opportunity to entertain the older members of our community. The next morning tea I am holding is tomorrow, at the Lyrebird Community Centre in Carrum Downs, with Chelsea, Edithvale and Noble Park morning teas not too far away. I would like to particularly thank one of my volunteers, Graham Malcolm, for attending the Mentone RSL and assisting members of my electorate staff to conduct what was an excellently-held morning tea, and I thank the staff of the Mentone RSL as well.