Address at the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit


Good morning everyone. We gather here this morning on the lands of the Wurundjeri and I wish to acknowledge them as traditional owners and thank them for their stewardship of these lands and their contribution to building a better climate and energy future.

It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the Climate and Clean Energy Transition Forum and also to join you in celebrating the 50th anniversary of ASEAN Australia dialogue relations, particularly at a time of increased global action to accelerate the net zero transformation.

A very warm welcome to all our ASEAN friends and in particular, I just want to acknowledge Laos as they commence their year as ASEAN chair.

Thanks also to Kristen Tilly, Australia's ambassador for climate change, for chairing today's forum and for the introduction also, if I may just personally acknowledge the presence of former chief scientists of our nation, Dr. Alan Finkel.

Also, I think at some point will be joined, and I believe by the head of our national science agency, Doug Hilton as well, and it is terrific to be able to acknowledge them.

And also just wanted to pass on apologies from my friend and colleague Chris Bowen, the Climate Change and Energy Minister who would have been here but for pressing personal reasons, was unable to make it.

But Chris and I work closely together on these issues, particularly in respect to the transition to net zero, because we believe the joining up of energy industry and science will be critical in getting us there.

It's great to have you here to discuss how we can work together to harness the enormous economic opportunities of the clean energy transformation to uplift our people and empower our region.

Today, I just wanted to focus on three components. First, our approach in Australia. Secondly, our cooperation within the region. And third, on the supply chains that connect us all. Here in Australia, we're hard at work to turn vision into reality.

Our government laying out the roadmap for our nation to become a renewable energy superpower. To deliver enduring opportunities for our communities, particularly in our regions, and for our First Nations people to bring down the cost of living through targeted measures to reduce energy prices, both in the short term and the long term, in the country and the city.

One of the first steps our government took when elected was enshrining in legislation our new target of 43 per cent emissions reduction by 2030, along with a commitment to net zero by 2050. And to reach these goals, we've also set a target of reaching 82 per cent renewable electricity by 2030 as well. And we're backing ambition with concrete action that'll get us from where we are now to where we want to be.

The Australian government's committed more than $40 billion to our energy transformation and climate priorities. We're delivering reliable electricity through the expansion of what's called the Capacity Investment scheme, bringing 32 gigawatts of dispatchable and variable energy as we transition our energy system.

We've also legislated our $20 billion rewiring the nation fund, struck funding deals for vital new energy infrastructure with New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia. And we've agreed with our states and territories to develop a new energy national energy transformation partnership to help coordinate state and federal action on energy and guide public and private investment.

We've set up a net zero economy agency that will have a laser like focus on the economic opportunities for the regions at the centre of Energy Transformation, the regions which have powered our nation for generations.

We've shortlisted six applicants under our $2 billion Hydrogen Head Start programme. So, Australia is in the green hydrogen game and we've also requiring net emissions reductions from 215 of our biggest industrial emitters of 5 per cent a year, equivalent to taking two-thirds of the cars off our roads by 2030, and we're doing that through our safeguard mechanism.

Talking of cars, we've also announced our new vehicle efficiency standards, giving Australians more choices of cheaper cars and more efficient cars to run, and to boost investment in renewables and low emissions technology.

We've also earmarked $3 billion in our $15 billion national Reconstruction Fund to help rebuild Australia's manufacturing capability, and we have established a $400 million Industry Growth Programme to help small and medium enterprises help us as well in a range of different areas on manufacturing capability, not the least of which is to help us in transition to net zero.

All these policies will bolster our resilience, diversify global supply chains, build our industrial base, all while reducing emissions in Australia and helping us to help our partners reduce their emissions as well.

Because we're approaching the clean energy transformation with eyes wide open, which means working more closely with our ASEAN partners to develop our economies and reach our shared goals, because Australia values being part of this vibrant, diverse and prosperous region we call home.

Southeast Asia has been a major engine of economic growth and energy demand, which is only expected to accelerate through the 21st century. Low emissions and sustainable technology needs will drive enormous growth in investment opportunities across our region.

There are strong opportunities to collaborate on solar, electric vehicles, battery storage, supply chains. In Australia, we need to build these industries up as the first step of one of our four priority sectors we're targeting to become a renewable energy superpower, along with critical minerals, green metals and clean technology manufacturing.

Now I know that our ASEAN partners are ramping up their efforts and their focus on these sectors as well, and we're keen to ensure we work more closely together to boost both energy security and bolster our supply chains.

Analysis by the International Energy Agency shows Southeast Asia will have the second highest growth in energy demand until 2050. We're all grappling with the same challenges. Increasing generation capacity to meet that growing demand, accelerating renewables to reduce emissions, deliver cleaner, cheaper energy for our people, and improving grid infrastructure and energy performance.

The good news is existing renewable and clean energy technologies have so much potential to help us achieve our emissions reduction goals. They're the cheapest source of energy and the best way to drive down costs for consumers. They'll enhance energy system resilience and reliability. In our annual climate change statement last year, we charted some of our national security risks that climate change is causing.

We share many of these risks. We all live in one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change. The risks are real, growing and will compound as global warming continues.

For shared risks, we need a shared approach, which is why we look forward to working together on the ASEAN climate change resilience priority this year, and why we're working across ASEAN to support the climate and clean energy transformation. To name a few, we've announced a $200 million climate and infrastructure partnership with Indonesia.

We're working together on mapping EV supply chains and also building new business-to-business links. We're also stepping up climate cooperation with Vietnam through our $150 million package to support Vietnam's energy transition and uptake of clean energy infrastructure. We've signed the world first Singapore Australia Green Economy Agreement, integrating trade, economic and climate objectives as no two countries have done before.

But the challenges that face us are so great, we simply can't work together in parts. To harness the opportunities of the transition. We've got to supercharge cooperation as a region. Tomorrow, alongside my colleague, Foreign Minister Penny Wong, I'll be announcing changes to our global science and Technology Diplomacy fund to refocus the programme towards our regional neighbours. Because when we work together to solve problems, we build stronger, mutually beneficial relationships.

Achieving net zero isn't simple. We can't achieve our climate targets without accelerating the development of new energy sources and diversifying supply chains. It's got to be a whole of region effort.

Secure and diverse supply chains for clean energy are absolutely essential to Indo-Pacific energy security and emissions reduction goals and the transition to a net zero future. With over 95 per cent of the value of our exports going to countries with net zero commitments. Our future prosperity depends on how we seize new manufacturing and export opportunities and help our trading partners decarbonise.

We're exploring supply chain opportunities across green hydrogen and ammonia, green metals, refined critical minerals and clean technology manufacturing, including battery and solar supply chains.

Our vision will see more Australian businesses, innovators and manufacturers become a bigger part of the energy transformation, both here and abroad. And with this, the Australian government announced up to 50 million to diversify clean energy supply chains in the Indo-Pacific. Money will fund research and development and feasibility studies in the Indo-Pacific to support development and diversification of clean energy supply chains associated with solar photovoltaic systems, hydrogen electrolyzers and batteries.

Australia is committed to ASEAN's centrality and the ASEAN outlook on the Indo-Pacific. We thank again Laos for their leadership this year as ASEAN chair. Australia is delighted to be ASEAN's oldest dialogue partner. We're honoured to become a comprehensive strategic partner in 2021 and we're working to increase our two-way trade and investment with the region.

The Prime Minister recently launched Mr Nicholas Moore's report Invested: Australia's Southeast Asia Economic Strategy To 2040. As part of this strategy, Nicholas, who you'll hear from shortly, made a number of recommendations for greater collaboration between Australia and ASEAN on the green energy transition.

He highlighted it as our most significant challenge and our greatest opportunity because it'll boost two-way trade, support greater linkages between Australia and Southeast Asian businesses. It'll help grow our economies, address energy inequality and reduce poverty.

Most Southeast Asian countries have announced net zero emissions and carbon neutrality goals. And collectively, ASEAN has committed to 35 per cent installed renewable capacity by 2025. That's a tremendous commitment.

So, we look forward to working with you to develop and execute your own decarbonisation pathways to ramp up cleaner, cheaper, renewable energy. To encourage, importantly, the private sector to invest and back the transformation and to ensure that the benefits of this are shared across our region.

Together, we come to focus on actions and cooperation, to accelerate the clean energy transformation and step forward as a region to discuss some of our common climate and energy challenges and opportunities. To also look at how we can progress this work with you, our Southeast Asian neighbours, to catalyse action, seize opportunity. I look forward to continuing this crucial work together and to another 50 years of friendship. Thank you and I wish you all the best for the next couple of days.