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Canberra
Sunday, June 20, 2021

ACT could sign fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty

Next week, the ACT could become the highest level of government in the world to sign a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty backed by the Dalai Lama, a hundred Nobel Prize winners, and more than a thousand scientists and academics.

The treaty aimed to leave fossil fuels in the ground, phase out their use, and ensure a just transition that left no member of the community behind, Greens MLA Jo Clay said.

Her motion for the ACT Government to sign the treaty will be debated in the Legislative Assembly next week.

The treaty, Ms Clay said, would stop new fossil fuel projects; end publicly funded fossil fuel infrastructure; phase out existing projects fairly and in line with climate science; and ensure a just transition worldwide for workers, communities, and countries that depend on fossil fuels.

“It’s time to start pushing our Federal Government to take more action on the climate,” Ms Clay said. “The vast majority of Australians want more urgent action. And this is a simple way to do it.”

Federal Greens want the treaty to be signed at a national level, party leader Adam Bandt said, so that the government cannot spend taxpayer money on gas fields or coal-powered stations, like the newly announced $600 million gas-fired power plant in the Hunter Valley.

“The ACT leads the country in getting good progressive outcomes on climate and tackling the inequality crisis,” Mr Bandt said.

“If the rest of Australia was a bit more like the ACT, we would be far more advanced on tackling the climate crisis and reducing inequality.”

If the Greens hold the balance of power after the next federal election, as Mr Bandt expects, they will push the next government to sign.

“We’ve had Labor and Liberals in the last few weeks voting to give public money to new fossil fuel projects,” Mr Bandt said.

“The only way we will get this kind of world-leading action from the ACT replicated at the federal level is by having the Greens in balance of power. At the next federal election, that makes Canberra voters some of the most powerful voters in the country.”

Parliament hung on a knife-edge, Mr Bandt said. He said Australia was 828 votes away from a minority government; he predicted there would be a swing against the government, resulting in a power-sharing parliament.

“Scratch the surface, and you realise that not only is [Scott Morrison] about to lose majority parliament, but Australia is in for a real shift and a good one.”

The Greens were prioritising Canberra this election, Mr Bandt said. “We are in with a real shot.”

Federal Greens candidate Tim Hollo said Canberra voters had a long experience of Greens and Labor working together in government.

“They love it; they want more of it; and they want more Greens in there working with Labor to pull them further and faster in the right direction,” he said.

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