Climate change

Mr DULUK (Waite) (14:55): My question is to the Minister for Environment and Water. Can the minister update the house on how the government is working to help protect our state against the threat of a changing climate?

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Minister, be seated for one moment.

Mr Malinauskas interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Leader of the Opposition, you can leave for the remainder of question time, thank you.

The honourable member for Croydon having withdrawn from the chamber:

The SPEAKER: The Minister for Environment and Water has the call.

The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS (Black—Minister for Environment and Water) (14:55): Thank you, Mr Speaker, and it is very good to be able to update not only the member for Waite but also this house about the Marshall Liberal government's approach to climate change, which is embedded very significantly in the state budget and which was announced yesterday.

Our approach in funding a number of key and very significant climate change policies builds on the 2018-19 financial year budget, which of course we believe was the biggest spending budget on climate change in this state's history, with very substantial investments in renewables and a whole range of environmental initiatives. We have continued with that theme, that body of work, in this budget, and our approach to climate change is woven into all of the environmental initiatives which were announced in the budget.

It was a great budget for South Australia's natural environment, with some $86 million of new investment being provided to our natural environment over the coming years. When it comes to climate change, there is no greater example of our focus and our investment than our very significant spending on our coastline: $52 million for coastal protection across the state and a very substantial amount invested in the member for Colton's electorate, which we know is that weak spot in the metropolitan coastline—a weak spot in our metropolitan coastline at West Beach that has knock-on effects for all the metropolitan coastline in our capital city.

We know that our coasts form the front line in the fight against climate change in this state. We know that increasing populations, rising sea levels and increasing storm events all contribute to a vulnerability in our coastline, and we have to be willing to invest, and invest substantially, in order to overcome those challenges. I was very keen to see our coast invested in, and I know that many of the members in this chamber are, none more so than the member for Colton with his ongoing advocacy for his electorate. But we are quadrupling the funding available for regional coastal protection as well. We've got many thousands of kilometres of coastline in regional South Australia. We know there are challenges there as well, and a $4 million regional coastal protection fund is being established.

We are also making significant investment in our national parks. More than $11 million is being invested in our national parks because that is land that the government has care and control of. Twenty-one per cent of the state is locked up in our reserve system. They are areas of land which we can get into and in which we can improve biodiversity and increase resilience so that native species of flora and fauna can thrive in those environments and hopefully withstand a change in climate.

Then we've also got our investment in waste reduction, waste management. We are undertaking significant reform in the waste management and resources recovery area because we know that waste to landfill has a big impact on the amount of emissions. In fact, methane is thought to be four times more damaging for our environment than CO2, so diverting waste from landfill, getting it out of our landfills, is a very important response to climate change.

South Australia has a historic and, I believe, in many ways bipartisan approach to dealing with climate change, and this budget continues to take that to the next level.

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