Australia’s original take on sustainability
Any strategy roll-out combines a top-down and a bottom-up approach. In an enterprise environment, it means that leadership decides the strategy, leads by example, and motivates or incentivizes employees to do the right thing. On a state level, legislation is issued, and tax incentives are created to achieve objectives. Not so in Australia.
Australia’s reluctance to implement, on state level, a clear sustainability strategy has long been criticized by the rest of the world. The country is one of world’s top producers of gas and coal had refused to join the target ahead of the Glasgow climate conference (COP26).
Its reluctance is politic first: Prime Minister Scott Morrison is heading into elections in May 2022 and needs the support of the rural population, reliant on agriculture and mining. Scott is not doing well in polls and has trouble joining the demands of rural and urban citizens.
Whilst Morrison wants to “protect the Australian way of life,” other voices remind the PM that Australia is turning its back on the opportunities that come with energy transition. The many people working in the mining industry will eventually be lost economically if the government does not plan to redeploy them.
What’s on the table
The bottom line is surprising: Morrison promotes a model without legislation, which implies that the responsibility is being transferred to consumers and companies. Some isolated investments in technology are foreseen, but no legislation will be put in place.
Morrison’s party reluctantly accepted to support the net zero target, but is in no way proposing any substantial incentive. A missed opportunity, perhaps to be reviewed by the next Australian government.
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