Page 234 - Week 01 - Thursday, 10 February 2022
They start out by saying, “No, you’re wrong. The sea is not rising.” And then, as the sea starts to rise, the people build walls. They take all these slightly ridiculous steps to try and hold back the sea. It is quite epochal in the way it is done. It does not work. The sea rises. It sweeps over the walls. The machine and the people are swept away.
And that is the bedtime story of The Giant and the Sea. It is absolutely about climate change, but it is also about how we react to climate change. It would have been a much better story if the little girl went into the city and said, “The sea is rising and we need to turn off the machine,” and all of the people said, “Goodness, the sea is rising? We need to turn off the machine. And how do we cope with the sea that is already rising?” There are two things that need to happen here. We need to tackle climate change directly and we also need to cope with its impacts and help our people cope with its impacts. We are sort of halfway there, but I see a real gap here.
I note that yesterday we saw a letter tabled from the federal Liberal Party about climate change. It was still, sadly, struggling at the first gate. Scott Morrison agreed that climate change is a bit of a thing, but was still stuck in that magical thinking of, “We don’t really need to deal with that. Magical thinking and technology will sort that out. One day we might build a wall, but until then we don’t really need to cope with climate change. We don’t really need to do anything about the sea rising.” It is really time that we moved on from that.
I am pleased to see this motion. I welcome this inquiry. I think it is great that we get better at storm resilience and climate resilience. We have a lot to learn. Everybody on this planet right now has a lot to learn. No-one has been through this before and we all need to get better at it. I am glad that later today I will be bringing forward a motion about the right to a healthy environment, which is on the same topic. I would really like to see a bit more genuine engagement with the root cause of climate change of that rising sea, as well as simply tackling some of the issues at the edge that people notice day to day.
MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (11.49): I thank Mr Milligan for bringing this very important motion before the Assembly. The thunderstorm that hit west Belconnen on Monday, 3 January was significant, with very strong winds and large quantities of medium-sized hail. The winds toppled trees across several suburbs and the hail smashed glass and filled rain gutters, leading to leaks and flooding. That night 7,518 customers were without power, and thousands of households remained without electricity for three or more days. Full restoration of service did not occur until Sunday afternoon.
I heard from dozens of affected residents in the immediate aftermath of the storm and I have continued to hear from them in the weeks since. Most have been disappointed—many deeply so—by the government’s response to this emergency. Concerns raised with me fall into three broad categories.
First is the poor communication. I have been repeatedly told that information from both the ACT and Evoenergy, which is majority owned by the government, was inadequate. Whilst updates were placed on social media and broadcast on radio, residents without power had difficulty accessing such information, especially as the