Isaacs Electorate: Climate Change

I want to speak today about the climate change forum that was held at the Chelsea Heights Community Centre last Thursday night in my electorate. Climate change is one of Australia’s and the world’s greatest long-term challenges. Combating climate change is a task that the constituents in my electorate of Isaacs are acutely aware of, particularly those who live in the suburbs on the eastern shore of Port Phillip Bay. That is why last month the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Climate Change, Water, Environment and the Arts visited the city of Kingston to see how climate change affects communities in Melbourne’s beachside suburbs.

I want to speak today about the climate change forum that was held at the Chelsea Heights Community Centre last Thursday night in my electorate. Climate change is one of Australia’s and the world’s greatest long-term challenges. Combating climate change is a task that the constituents in my electorate of Isaacs are acutely aware of, particularly those who live in the suburbs on the eastern shore of Port Phillip Bay. That is why last month the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Climate Change, Water, Environment and the Arts visited the city of Kingston to see how climate change affects communities in Melbourne’s beachside suburbs.

I was invited to speak at the Chelsea Heights climate change forum—alongside eminent scientist and science adviser to former US Vice President Al Gore, Dr Graeme Pearman of Monash University—by Robyn Erwin, who is president of the Chelsea Heights Community Centre and someone who I know is very passionate about dealing with the effects of climate change. I spoke about why it is important that legislation is passed now to establish the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, about the effects climate change could have on coastal communities in my electorate—like Chelsea, Mordialloc, Carrum and Patterson Lakes—and about what we as a local community can do to help tackle climate change. There was robust debate among the 70 attendees about the issue, but the overriding message was crystal clear: the local community wants action on climate change, and now. I would urge my colleagues on the other side of the House to listen, as we in the government have, to the voices of the community which are calling for action on climate change.

I would like to thank Robyn Erwin for organising this event and the students of Chelsea Heights Primary School who decorated the hall with banners and drawings urging action on climate change. I also thank Lochie and Ben from the Chelsea Heights Primary School, who presented me with a poster about climate change which I will be proudly displaying in my office. The poster contains a range of suggestions about the actions that each of us on a personal level can take to reduce carbon emissions and to reduce energy usage in our daily lives—such simple things as turning off the lights when one leaves the room and walking instead of driving the car. The fact that these students from the Chelsea Heights Primary School were able to carefully record these suggestions on their poster is an indication of their awareness of the environment that they live in and reinforces the message that ought to be heard by everyone in this place about the urgency of and need for action.