Climate-hit communities aghast as Labor’s Gas Strategy undermines urgent climate action

Climate Communities Alliance

People whose communities have been hit by floods, fires, heat, and sea level rise have spoken out at their dismay over the government’s Future Gas Strategy.

Australians and our Pacific Island neighbours are on the frontlines of climate change – we can’t afford to keep expanding the highly polluting industries that are making climate change worse. Across the country communities are reeling from repeated climate-fueled disasters. Torres Strait Island communities are facing the loss of their homelands.

The science is clear – we need to move away from fossil fuels like gas, not lock in further exploitation for decades to come.

This is a betrayal of the Australian people, but also of our Pacific Island neighbours, who are so very vulnerable to the climate impacts of rising seas.

Dr Aunty McRose Elu, senior Torres Strait Islander elder, community advocate, and former Queensland Senior Australian of the Year, said:

“Last week in court the government heard that we are highly likely to be forced from our islands in 26 years due to climate change. Today the government has approved more gas projects, beyond our pollution budget, which will directly worsen the climate crisis in the Torres Strait.

“I am in the Torres Strait right now witnessing torrential rains and rising sea levels. I would like the Government to come here and see for themselves the climate impacts on these low-lying islands.

“We know they can be doing so much more to keep us all safe from climate harm. Our only chance for survival is to act very quickly to put us on the right path and limit global heating to 1.5 degrees.”

Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action President Jo Dodds said:

“Once again, the safety and security of Australian communities is forced to take a back seat to the voracious profit motives of the gas mining sector.

“The Australian Government knows exactly how dangerous the new Future Gas Strategy is because they have admitted in several recent court cases that they accept the climate science in the IPCC Reports. This research says that ongoing fossil fuel mining and use will cause even more dangerous and destructive bushfires, floods, storms, droughts and sea level rise.

“Survivors across this country are devastated that our lives, our families, our futures mean so very little in the face of company profit.”

Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action CEO Serena Joyner said:

“This is a betrayal of our communities by the Albanese government, caving in to gas lobby pressure. They promised to act meaningfully on climate, but today’s announcement backs in decades more fossil fuel extraction, including support for new gas projects.

“Australians are already paying a heavy price for climate damage through losses, rebuilds, higher insurance and building in climate resilience, yet it seems the government is happy to keep pouring fuel on the fire. The clean energy solutions are available now and our communities are relying on urgent emissions reduction for a safer future.”

Chels Hood Withey of the Community Disaster Action Group in the Northern Rivers said:

“Labor’s plan for more gas until 2050 is unacceptable for flood-impacted communities. Investing in climate-destroying fossil fuels condemns us to worsening disasters. We demand an urgent and immediate transition to renewables to protect our communities. No new coal and gas.”

Miriam Torzillo representing Reclaim Our Recovery, Lismore said:

“The people of the Northern Rivers came together at the Bentley blockade to successfully keep their country gasfield free. Since then we have lived through two climate disasters; the fires of 2019 and the catastrophic floods of 2022. We know from experience how deeply climate disasters change communities. Therefore we join with all climate impacted communities and those fighting against extractivism to call out the lie of The ‘Future Gas Strategy’.”

Alliance organisations include Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action, Currie Country Social Change, Grata Fund, Plan C, Lismore’s Reclaim Our Recovery, Northern Rivers Community Disaster Action Group.

/Public Release.