Comedian and filmmaker Dan Ilic unveiled a portrait of environment minister Greg Hunt on February 29 outside Parliament House in Canberra. The portrait, entitled “Greg Hunt, best minister in the world for clearing trees” was in response to Hunt being named the “Best Minister in the World”.
The irony of the award is that Hunt has overseen a huge rise in tree clearing and carbon emissions, while his government is spending billions from the Emissions Reduction Fund to keep trees in the ground and plant new trees.
Wilderness Society national director Lyndon Schneiders said: “The Turnbull government's climate policy is completely illogical. It does nothing while state governments gut laws to allow millions of trees to be ripped up and burnt, then it spends billions of dollars in taxpayers' money keeping trees in the ground and planting new trees. It would be easier and far cheaper to just stop tree clearing.”
A recent report by the Wilderness Society found Australia's greenhouse gas emissions from tree clearing are skyrocketing, with land-sector emissions almost doubling in the past three years while emissions from most other sectors are dropping. Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry emissions increased 79% from the equivalent of 13Mt CO2 in 2012 to 23Mt CO2 in 2015, more than 10 times faster than any other sector.
The Wilderness Society tried to deliver the painting to the minister but they were refused entry to parliament. Canberra's Portrait Gallery and the National Arboretum also rejected the painting.