Sunday, 31 July 2016

Is Josh Frydenberg going to be the second worst environment minister Australia has had so far this century?

Less than  a year after being sworn in as Australian Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia, former Deutsche Bank director and current Liberal MP for Kooyong Josh Mr. Coal Frydenberg is back post-federal election as Minister for the Environment and Energy

If the former environment minister Greg Hunt was considered by many to be a very bad fit for his portfolio, then Frydenberg might possibly be as poor a choice.

His views are well known and his voting record available for scrutiny……, 28 July 2016:

Environment and Energy minister Josh Frydenberg is claiming to be a convert to the cause of renewables but the grim truth is that this government has no interest in meaningful climate action.

Alarmed at the criticism of his appointment as combined energy and environment minister, Josh Frydenberg has launched a media campaign to overhaul his image as that of the man who recently insisted there was a “strong moral case” for burning more coal and starting economically unviable new coal mines like Adani’s Carmichael project (not to mention his loathing of environmental groups).

In the last 48 hours, Frydenberg has spoken at a Clean Energy Council summit, given interviews to Fairfax and Lateline, as well as enjoying several articles in today’s Australian (naturally spinning his comments about the role of wind power in South Australia’s power supply situation in a manner complementary to its own, profoundly dishonest campaign against renewable energy — Peter Martin is the latest to point out the complete lack of substance to it)…..

The Australian, 28 July 2016:

The energy crises in South Australia and Tasmania, which massively inflated electricity ­prices and hobbled industry, were a “wake-up call” about problems created by solar and wind generation, new Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg says.

As the first minister to hold both the energy and environment portfolios, Mr Frydenberg has warned of the need to shift from fossil fuels to renewables responsibly and affordably, as he signals a reinvigorated assault on Labor’s plan to expand renewable energy…..

Mr Frydenberg said the South Australian energy crisis was exacer­bated by the “intermittency of renewables”.

But he also pointed the finger at a scheduled upgrade of an interconnector at Heywood in southwest Victoria, high gas prices­ fuelled by state moratoria on coal-seam gas exploration and increased demand due to cold weather.

Australian Mining, 28 September 2016:

“Australia and Western Australia in particular have been great beneficiaries of the decade-long super-cycle which saw record prices and record demand for our commodities,” Frydenberg said.
“Clearly with the slowdown of China we’re moving back towards normalised, cyclical patterns.
“That being said, resources and energy are absolutely central to Australia’s economic growth and prosperity today and into the future.”

House of Representatives, Hansard, 8 September 2015:

JOSH FRYDENBERG (Kooyong, Liberal Party, Assistant Treasurer) - And Greg Hunt, as environment minister, has done a brilliant job in cutting red tape and green tape, which has seen nearly $1 trillion worth of projects receive their environmental approval—and since we came to government we have halved the approval time.

House of Representatives, Hansard, 22 October 2014:

JOSH FRYDENBERG (Kooyong, Liberal Party, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister) - The third suite of reforms is around making Australia a more attractive place to invest. It is here that the one-stop shops, where the Minister for Environment has so successfully led the charge, are going to lead to more than $420 million of annual compliance savings by streamlining approval processes between state and federal governments. The Business Council of Australia documented one case where a company wanted to make a $1 billion investment in the resource sector in Australia and sought an environmental approval. It took that company more than two years, cost them more than $20 million, required 4,000 meetings and required a 12,000-page report. And when the approval came back, it had 1,500 conditions attached—300 at the federal level, 1,200 at the state level—and 8,000 sub conditions. Now I ask you: which company can go through that process and expect to want to invest again in Australia? 

House of Representatives, Hansard, 4 December 2014:

JOSH FRYDENBERG (Kooyong, Liberal Party) - What about the environment? The Minister for the Environment has got his $2.5 billion Direct Action Plan through the Senate. He has got his Green Army proposal through the Senate. We have a good position on the Renewable Energy Target, which we believe should be a 20 per cent target. And of course he has abolished the carbon tax. That is a proud record when it comes to the environment.

According to They Vote For You in the federal parliament Josh Frydenberg has supported:

Unconventional gas mining by supporting the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Bilateral Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014
Unrestrained fossil fuel use by voting against increased investment in renewable energy and, against both a carbon price on greenhouse gas emissions and a mineral resources rent tax
Unsustainable forest logging by voting against the Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill 2011
Unsustainable water use by voting against increased protection of the nation’s fresh water assets
Silencing local voices by voting to restrict the classes of persons who can seek a judicial review of decisions made under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)
Unsustainable commercial fishing by voting against a bill which would establish an independent expert panel to conduct an assessment into the potential environmental, social and economic impacts of a declared commercial fishing activity and to prohibit the declared commercial fishing activity while the assessment is undertaken.

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