Independent MPs urge Albanese to consider carbon footprint after RAAF flight scandal

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Anthony Albanese has been urged to offset emissions from his controversial jet use after it was revealed that he and two ministers chartered two private planes to attend the same clean energy event in the NSW Hunter Valley.

Mr Albanese, Climate Change and Energy Minister and Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic all flew to the region from Canberra on Thursday to announce a $1bn to support Australian manufacturing in solar technology.

After it emerged that the politicians and their staff flew separately in two separate Royal Australian Air Force jets, Teal MP Zali Steggall urged the leaders to compensate for the carbon emitted for the trip.

“I certainly hope they were offsetting the emissions of those two jets with companies, like Green fleet and other places like that where you can offset the emissions of your travel,” Ms Stegall told Seven’s Sunrise.

“I certainly hope and I call on the Minister for Climate Change to do that. Look, as a lowly independent, we don’t get the luxuries of flying in the ADF jets.”

Private jets have a dramatically higher carbon footprint per passenger than commercial planes, with the average private jet emitting two tonnes of carbon an hour.

According to a 2021 report from the European Federation for Transport and Environment private jets are five to 14 times more polluting per passenger than commercial flights, and 50 times more polluting than trains.

Mr Bowen said the use of two private jets was a decision made by the airforce for safety reasons.

“The Prime Minister has a large jet available to him and that would normally be what we take,” he said on Monday.

“The runway at Scone wasn’t strong enough to take a large jet so the air force … decided for two jets.”

Speaking later on Wednesday, Labor frontbencher Katy Gallagher said that there was nothing unusual about the trip.

“PMs have to travel around the country – it’s part of their job,” senator Gallagher told reporters.

And I think what people will remember is that they’ve got a very hardworking prime minister who’s out there everyday looking to expand economic opportunities,” she said.”

Opposition transport spokeswoman Bridget McKenzie said the government should consider “jet pooling”

“I fail to see why these guys, when they’re leaving from the same place on the same day, within 30 minutes of each other, couldn’t have either shared the plane or indeed, some of them, if they couldn’t all fit, use the commercial options that were available to them to fly direct from Canberra to Newcastle to make the announcement,” Senator McKenzie said.

“It’s quite incredible.”

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