Anthony Albanese has faced criticism from Sky News host Andrew Bolt for allocating millions in taxpayers’ money to climate projects for our Pacific neighbours while Australians struggle with the high cost of living.
The Prime Minister is visiting the Cook Islands for the Pacific Islands Forum, where he pledged $350m towards the Pacific Climate Infrastructure Financing Partnership on Thursday.
However, this funding commitment has sparked controversy back home, with Mr Bolt expressing outrage over what he called a ‘ludicrous’ spending spree, claiming that Albanese had fell for another ‘global warming sting.’
‘He flew on another junket this time to the Pacific Islands Forum, with our credit card and today slapped on another $350 million to give to Pacific countries for, you guessed it, global warming,’ Bolt said.
Anthony Albanese lapped up the hospitality from Cook Island locals after pledging $350m towards the Pacific Climate Infrastructure Financing Partnership on Thursday.
‘Can you believe it! $350m over here, $200m over there and more money soon for Tuvalu?
‘Tuvalu does not need our money for global warming, which is no threat there. Tuvalu is growing, not sinking under rising seas, Mr Bolt claimed.
‘Albanese just fell for it again – with your money!’
Mr Bolt was referencing University of Auckland research that said in the four decades to 2014, Tuvalu’s total land area grew by 73 hectares, or 2.9 per cent.
The research suggests certain islands — specifically, larger atolls and reef platforms — can adapt to the current pace of sea level rise.
However, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sets out four scenarios for future rises, three of them more severe than what Tuvalu has so far faced.
Despite Tuvalu’s recent land area growth, it remains a focal point for climate change activists due to its 101 low-lying islands.
Bolt went on to blast Mr Albanese’s comments that he’s had ‘nothing but extremely positive feedback’ about Australia’s climate change policies from Pacific counterparts.
‘No kidding! Extremely positively received – well that tends to happen when you dump a whole bunch of money in the laps of Pacific leaders – they would like it,’ Bolt said.
‘Money that comes from Australian taxpayers – some of whom are struggling to put food on their own table back here at home.’
The Prime Minister is currently visiting the Cook Islands for the Pacific Islands Forum
Andrew Bolt unleashed on Anthony Albanese over spending spree on global warming for Australia’s Pacific neighbours
Mr Albanese held formal bilateral talks with Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Cook Islands on the sidelines of the Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting and informal discussions with other leaders from Nauru, Samoa, Tonga and the Federated States of Micronesia.
While environmental NGOs and climate activists have scorned Australia’s expansion of fossil fuel extraction, Mr Albanese said Pacific leaders had not done the same during meetings.
‘They’ve been very positive about Australia’s position when it comes to climate change,’ he said.
‘There’s a recognition that since the change of government, there’s been a change in Australia’s position, and that we are taking the challenge of climate change seriously, not only domestically, but also helping in the Pacific.’
The Australian prime minister showed off his fancy footwork in the Cook Islands on Thursday
The PIF summit is Mr Albanese’s second as prime minister.
He boarded a flight to the idyllic island of Aitutaki on Thursday afternoon where he showed off his dance moves.
On Friday, he will sail across the picturesque turquoise lagoon with other leaders as the group thrashes out issues at a leaders’ retreat.
Joining climate as one of the top issues at the gathering are nuclear concerns, with Pacific leaders showing their resolve to keep the region nuclear-free.
Opposition comes from a legacy of the region’s painful history with testing of nuclear weapons by the United States, United Kingdom and France.
Australia’s AUKUS deal to obtain nuclear-powered submarines raises concern among many.
Leaders in Kiribati, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands and Fiji have previously expressed reservations on different fronts, including the extravagant cost, which exceeds the entire annual GDP of PIF members apart from Australia and New Zealand.
PIF chair and Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown has suggested the time could have come to ‘reinvigorate’ the Treaty of Rarotonga, the nuclear weapons-free pact signed during the Cold War.
Mr Albanese was less forthcoming on whether reform was needed, declining to respond to questions on whether he supported Mr Brown’s calls.
‘We support the Treaty of Rarotonga. It is a good document. It has stood the test of time, all of the arrangements that have been in place, we’ve been consistent with that, and it retains our support,’ he said.
Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese dances before receiving a gift during a welcome ceremony the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) in Aitutaki, Cook Islands,
Ongoing forum talks have been overshadowed by the abrupt departure of Nauru President David Adeang, who walked out on the summit on Thursday when their controversial choice to be the next Pacific Islands Forum secretary general, Baron Waqa, was raised.
Attempts to coax Mr Adeang to return failed and the Nauru delegation flew out from the Cook Islands on Friday morning.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk