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Australia passes ambitious new climate change legislation

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

HE Rachael Moore

Australian High Commission, Tonga: Australia delivers on commitment to the Pacific with ambitious new climate change legislation

The Australian Government is delivering on our commitment to the Pacific family, that we will listen and act on an issue of fundamental importance to the future for all of us – climate change.

On 8 September 2022, the Australian Parliament passed landmark climate laws, committing Australia to more ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This legislation will enshrine in law Australia’s commitment to reduce emissions by 43 per cent by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. It provides a framework to accelerate investment in renewable energy, transmission and storage.

It also demonstrates that Australia stands shoulder to shoulder with the Pacific family as we face the climate crisis – not just with words, but with action.

This is embodied locally in Tonga, through the Outer Islands Renewable Energy Project (OIREP) led by the Asian Development Bank and supported by Australia. The OIREP partnership is assisting with the transition from diesel to solar power generation in ‘Uiha, Ha’ano, Ha’afeva and Nomuka islands in Ha’apai and Niuatoputapu island. Solar plants and battery storage have been built in ‘Eua, Pangai Lifuka and Vava’u to boost renewable energy penetration and rehabilitation of 160 solar home system in Niuafo’ou.

Australia also co-funds the Tonga Renewable Energy Project (TREP) and Nuku’alofa Network Upgrade Project (NNUP). TREP builds on the existing work under OIREP with installation of battery energy storage systems (BESS) on Tongatapu, and on grid solar and BESS plants on ‘Eua and Vava’u. TREP is also installing mini-grid solar and BESS systems on 5 outer islands and an additional 4 islands with the project savings.

We understand climate change is not an abstract threat, but an existential one. This is why we are committed to taking meaningful action, at home and in partnership with the Pacific.  We want to send the strongest possible signal of our commitment to decarbonise our economy and become a renewables powerhouse.

At home, the Australian Government will increase renewable energy in our national market to 82 per cent by 2030, and increase the use of electric vehicles. We are installing hundreds of community batteries and solar banks across the country and supporting renewables and low emissions technology.

Passing this legislation is also an important step towards achieving our shared aspirations with the Pacific family. We understand that we need to work together like never before – for generations to come.

Australia is seeking to co-host a United Nations Climate Conference in partnership with the Pacific. We hope to work together to spur global climate ambition and action, while highlighting the voices and challenges of our region.

We are increasing support for climate adaptation and resilience, in line with Pacific priorities. The new Australian Government is increasing Official Development Assistance to the region by $525 million over four years from 2022-23, including additional support for climate change.

We recognise we must be a strong partner to Pacific nations to support climate adaptation and build resilience.

We will establish a Pacific Climate Infrastructure Financing Partnership to support climate and clean energy infrastructure projects, continuing Australia’s investment in important renewable energy projects across the region.

The Pacific family has long called for Australia to take more ambitious action on climate change. The legislation we have passed last week is a critical step in our journey together. 

Australian High Commission
Nuku’alofa, Tonga

16 September 2022

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Matangi Tonga Online ref. #6895 Sponsored Post, Australian High Commission - Tonga, 16-30 September 2022