Environment groups rank SA parties on green policies

An alliance of environment organisations led by the Australian Conservation Foundation, Conservation Council SA, and the Wilderness Society has produced a scorecard rating the political parties in the South Australian electon on their environmental policies.

The South Australia: Our Future scorecard is the result of a detailed survey that focused on 36 key issues and analysis of how the four main parties: the ALP, Liberal Party, SA Best and the Greens compare on a range of environmental, climate and energy issues.

The issues range from climate change and clean energy, to protecting oceans and waterways, to ensuring that South Australia rules out an international radioactive waste dump and moves away from fossil fuel exploration and development.

Overall, the Greens scored five stars, SA Best was given three stars, Labor two and Liberal one and a half.

Some of the issues covered included:

  • Oil and gas drilling in the Great Australian Bite: The Greens and SA-BEST both opposed oil and gas exploration in the Great Australian Bight. The Liberal Party did not oppose exploration. Labor, while not opposing exploration, stated that any negative impacts of oil and gas exploration in the pristine waters of the Great Australian Bight are unacceptable and acknowledged the serious concern being expressed by the South Australian community.

  • Gasfields in the south-east: The Liberal Party reconfirmed a 10 year moratorium on unconventional gas extraction (fracking) in the South East, but did not commit to a total ban on all gas activity in the area. The Greens supported a total ban to prioritise the protection of land and water. SA-BEST supported a ban on unconventional, until all health and environmental safety concerns are resolved, and until a social licence is achieved. Labor has maintained its support for an expanded gas industry in the South East.

  • Renewable energy: The Greens and Labor scored strongly in this section by clearly committing to increasing South Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (100% and 75% by 2025 respectively) and providing clear actions such as funding for new renewable and storage technologies and Labor’s landmark support of the world’s biggest virtual power plant starting on public homes and Australia’s first storage target. Labor also made significant commitments toward development of a renewable hydrogen industry both for domestic use and export. SA-BEST committed to maintaining South Australia’s 50% renewable target and establishing a government backed, non-profit retailer for people on low-incomes which the Greens also support. The Liberal Party offered funding for home and utility scale storage, but refused to drop their pledge to scrap South Australia’s renewable energy target which saw them score extremely poorly in this section.

  • Marine Parks: Labor reaffirmed strong support for the marine park network, as did the Greens and SA-BEST. The Liberal Party however, gave no commitment to retaining the current sanctuary zones which are the core element of any park network.

The Scorecard will be distributed across key electorates to inform voters about where the parties stand, and factor conservation and climate change issues into their decision about who to vote for on March 17.

More information is at https://www.ourfuturesa.org.au/scorecard

Image: Murray River — David Sickerdick

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