Mike Rann was the 44th Premier of South Australia and was elected thrice for the role before retiring in the year 2011. Apart from being the Premier of South Australia, he was also the Minister for Sustainability and Climate Change.
As a Premier and Minister for Sustainability and Climate Change, Mike Rann took several measures to protect the environment.
Mike Rann as Minister of Climate Change
- Recycling Incentive Program: In the year 2008, Rann Government announced that South Australians would be paid 10 cents for every can and bottle that they recycled.
- Ban on non-recyclable Plastics: He also imposed a complete ban on the use of non-reusable plastic bags in South Australia to prevent around 400 million bags from ending in litter streams every year. He also encouraged other territories and states to do the same and reduce the use of plastic bags in Australia.
- Environmental Protection of Nullarbor Plain: The large area of Nullarbor Plain which measures around 200km was announced to be given the status of Wilderness Protection. This move by the Rann government was to double the total amount of land under environmental protection in Australia. This large area which stretches from the border of Western Australia all the way to the Great Australian Bight is home to more than 390 different species of plants and large habitats of rare birds and animals.
- Ban on Mining in Arkaroola: In 2011, the government announced that the Arkaroola Protection Area would be offered permanent protection and no mining activities will continue in this area. Arkaroola was a popular mining location and this move by Mike Rann angered the entire mining industry. Moreover, special legislation was also put in place to prohibit mining exploration, mining, and grazing at the location.
Climate Change Council
Under Climate Change and Greenhouse Emissions Reduction Act of 2007, Mike Rann’s government established a Climate Change Council. The group is still active and focuses on providing advice to ministers who are responsible for climate change about the matters that are related to the changing climate and greenhouse emissions. The members of this group are from conservation and environment sector, the business community, local and state governments, and scientific community.
Some of the areas on which the Council offered advice include-
- Ways to achieve energy efficiency
- Development of methods that can help reduce the number of greenhouse gasses from atmosphere
- Promoting renewable energy
- Assessing the losses by not taking effective measures to protect environment and assessing the costs for implementing measures that can limit and reduce climate change
- Opportunities that can help reduce or limit climate change
Apart from providing advice, the council plays an important leadership role in providing businesses, conservation, and environment sector, and other communities about the problems related to climate change.
Mike Rann also joined International Council of The Climate Group which works internationally along with government and business to promote the use of cleaner policies and technologies. Moreover, Exnora International, an Indian environmental service NGO honored him with the Global Champion of Climate Change Award in the year 2010.