Rev. AIistair Macrae, President of the Church said, “When the Uniting Church was inaugurated in 1977 we pledged to the nation that we would be a voice urging the protection of the environment and the wise use of the earth’s resources.
“I am pleased today to see the Australian Government finally announce a strong program for addressing dangerous climate change and moving Australia to a clean energy future.
“This is a historic moment for Australia, together as a nation we are taking up the international challenge of responding to climate change and protecting God’s earth for future generations.
“The Uniting Church believes that strong and swift action on climate change is indeed one of the greatest moral challenges of our time. As Christians, we believe that God’s will for the earth is for renewal and reconciliation, not destruction by human beings,” said Rev. Macrae.
Rev. Elenie Poulos, National Director of UnitingJustice Australia, has particularly commended the package of measures for:
- The compensation packages for low income households and vulnerable Australians
- The commitments aimed at supporting the research, development and use of renewable energies, and
- The multiple programs supporting Australia’s transition to a low carbon economy and sustainable future.
"We consider the $23 per tonne starting price on the low side and are also disappointed about the weak signal for reducing pollution from our most highly polluting sectors. We are, however, pleased with the long-term target of an 80% reduction on 2020 emission levels by 2050. This will help to ensure that Australia makes a good contribution to addressing global warming.
"The strong focus in the package on renewable energy is especially welcome. Together with a number of job assistance and energy security measures this provides us with a good start for the transition to a sustainable economy.
“We now have some substantial policies which acknowledge our human dependence on the wellbeing of the planet.
“As a Church with deep connections in the Asia-Pacific region we are disappointed that there is no revenue allocated for additional adaptation and mitigation assistance for our developing country neighbours. We look forward to working with the Government to ensure that Australia’s does meet its responsibility as major polluter in the region,” said Rev. Poulos.
Rev. Macrae said, “The Uniting Church will continue to be a voice for the planet and all its people and will continue to support measures by the government to take action on climate change. Our hope is that Australia may show leadership in successful climate change policy and bold innovation in renewable technologies.”