Kevin Rudd has called for solar panels to be made compulsory on all new buildings and increased incentives to be offered to households that do not yet have them as part of a “genuinely green recovery” from recession.
Speaking at an Australian National University event on Monday, the former prime minister repeated his 2007 declaration that climate change was the “great moral challenge of our time” and accused the Morrison government of putting jobs and long-term living standards at risk by failing to deal with the issue as promised under the Paris agreement.
Rudd said the government could have used the coronavirus pandemic as a spur to accelerate the shift to becoming a zero emissions economy, but had instead used it as an excuse to delay action further. It was evidence Australia had become “the complacent country” on the issue despite the experience of last summer’s catastrophic bushfires, he said.
“Besides the United States under [Donald] Trump and Brazil under [Jair] Bolsonaro, we in Australia are the only major economy that does not take the need for action on climate change seriously. Nor do we recognise the economic opportunities that will come with that action. I would argue this is bad company to keep,” Rudd said as part of his keynote address at the Wilson Dialogue.