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The Federal Coalition's Climate Failure: An Overview


Despite hearing concerning updates from scientists and seeing worrying climate-influenced disasters across the world last year, the Federal government has failed when it comes to climate change. 

Recently released data shows national emissions are increasing and that Australia will fail to meet emissions cuts it pledged under the Paris Agreement.

Since taking office in 2013, the Abbott/Turnbull governments have
 failed to deliver a policy agenda to rein in Australia's greenhouse gas emissions—which are among the world's largest on a per capita basis. It has done little to prepare communities across the country for the climate impacts that are (unfortunately) now unavoidable. 

The Coalition's poor record on climate change policy isn't from inaction or incompetence. Evidence shows it has actively undermined efforts to address the issue. Take a look... 

Since 2013 the Federal Coalition has:

  • Eliminated the Climate Commission.
  • Defunded the CSIRO’s climate change research programs.
  • Appointed a ‘climate skeptic’ to review the national Renewable Energy Target.
  • Slashed the national Renewable Energy Target by 20 percent.
  • Attacked wind farms and backing a hostile senate inquiry into the technology.
  • Presided over the loss of 1 in 3 jobs in Australia’s renewable energy sector.
  • Suggested “coal is good for humanity.”
  • Brandished a lump of coal in the House of Representatives while Australians on the east coast sweltered through a record-breaking heatwave.
  • Attempted to abolish the national Clean Energy Finance Corporation twice despite it delivering a return on investment to taxpayers.
  • Suggested that so-called “clean coal” and gas power should receive funding from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
  • Cut the budget of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) by $500 million.
  • Ruled out an Emissions Intensity Scheme before considering the merits of the policy.
  • Repealed the carbon price penalty for corporations that pollute our air and cause climate change.
  • Let polluters of the hook and forcing taxpayers to pay for emissions cuts by establishing the flawed Emissions Reduction Fund.
  • Supported Adani’s Carmichael coal mine and export industry.
  • Continued calls to overturn the Victoria’s legislated ban on risky unconventional gasfields and moratorium on onshore gas.
  • Attacked environment groups and charities in the press, with hostile reviews, and the appointment of a long-standing critic as Charities Commissioner. 
  • Undertaken a tokenistic climate policy review and buried the findings a few days before Christmas.

Act on Climate will be keeping a watchful eye on the Federal government's climate change policies. We endeavour to hold them to account for any actions that undermine Australia's contribution to global efforts to tackle climate change.


The Federal government's failure to act on climate means we need to see more leadership from state and territory governments.

The Victorian Labor government can show leadership by setting Emissions Reduction Targets to meet the global goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C. By adopting science-based targets, Premier Daniel Andrews can trump PM Malcolm Turnbull’s meagre offering and get Australia back on track.

The Andrews government can also drive progress by committing to 
Victoria’s first climate-focused state budget. We’ve seen tens of billions invested in infrastructure and $1.9 billion to tackle the important issue of family violence. It’s time climate change received a sizeable investment. 

Lastly, Matthew Guy and the Liberal National Party has been quiet on the climate change. Yet the community expects all parties to publicly release a climate policy well before polling day. With a focus on law and order, the opposition can easily commit to uphold the state's climate change laws (the Climate Change Act 2017).


  • Get involved in the campaign by joining the Act on Climate collective. 
  • Make a donation to help keep Act on Climate's ongoing work to support communities and secure a climate budget.
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