A coalition led by two of Perth’s most senior religious figures has moved to put climate change on the State election agenda, urging people to vote according to how political parties have handled the issue.
Amid polls which suggest environmental issues have slipped down the list of priorities for voters, the WA Civil Society Climate Roundtable has implored people to keep climate change at the heart of the campaign.
Launching the roundtable’s election strategy today, patron and Anglican Bishop Tom Wilmot said most of the major parties, notably the greens, had some strong environmental policies.
However, he said there were many other areas where efforts were lacking and the group wanted firm commitments on issues such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and water security.
Uniting Church associate general secretary Rosemary Hudson Miller said at State level parties could start by offering better building and planning policies to ensure homes used less electricity.
“In Western Australia it just seems like there needs to be some action really on the ground,” she said.
“Things like the built environment: policies that involve how we can build our homes can make a huge difference.
“Our homes can be built so they’re not needing to be air-conditioned as much.”
Bishop Wilmot said the group had put together a report card assessing the performance of the major parties against several criteria and would be updating it closer to the March 9 election.
“Every day West Australians are doing what they can to reduce their personal pollution but successive State governments of all stripes have failed to give them proper support,” Bishop Wilmot said.
“Now voters have a way to make a difference.
“All you have to do is visit the Climate Roundtable website, check out where each party has made commitments on climate issues, and make a decision based on the things you care about.
“We’re already seeing climate change effects right here in WA - our South West is drying, warming waters are bleaching Ningaloo coral and harming our lucrative lobster fisheries, and we’ve seen major increases in extreme weather.
“It’s time to act.”