Doorstop, Camden NSW
24 June 2020
Subject: Energy policy, reliable energy, bipartisanship, Technology Investment Roadmap, Paris targets, nuclear energy.
ANGUS TAYLOR: The focus of our energy policy is clear: it's about affordable energy, reliable energy, and bringing down emissions without wrecking the economy. And we're kicking goals. We're seeing prices of electricity and gas coming down. We're seeing important projects like Snowy 2.0, major investments from the Government to make sure we can keep the lights on 24/7, 365 days a year. And we're bringing down emissions. We have clear targets, we have a strong plan to achieve those targets and we have an enviable track record. Now central to that is technology, not taxation, and the $2 billion Climate Solutions Fund built on the extraordinary success of the Emissions Reduction Fund. Today, we had Labor out talking about their energy policies, but they didn't explain how their energy policies would create a single job. They didn't explain how they're going to bring down prices, how they're going to keep the lights on. They didn't explain what their targets were, and they didn't explain how they're going to achieve those targets. We're getting on with it, we're delivering, and at a time like this when Australians want to know where their jobs are going to be in the coming years, coming out of COVID-19, our focus on affordable reliable power, making sure we bring down our emissions without wrecking the economy is absolutely central to our focus as a Government.
JOURNALIST: The Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese says that he wants to put bipartisanship aside and work with the Government on establishing a national framework or a national energy policy. Are you willing to do that?
ANGUS TAYLOR: We're willing to continue to focus on making sure we've got affordable, reliable energy and we bring down our emissions. That's the focus and that's what we're going to continue to do every day, and that's been a very successful focus for the government as I said a moment ago. So we'll continue to go down that path. We'll always consult with all stakeholders to make sure we're getting the best ideas coming forward, but our focus is very clear.
JOURNALIST: I'm sorry, was that a yes? You'll work with Labor?
ANGUS TAYLOR: I haven't received any invitation from my opposite number to speak, but we're going to continue to focus on those core principles. And look, we welcome the fact that Labor has embraced our technology investment roadmap. That's great news. And as I say, we'll continue to listen and talk to focus on those core principles.
JOURNALIST: The Opposition Leader also said that the Coalition is crippled by members of the Coalition who are conspiracy theorists and don't believe in the science of climate change. Is that true?
ANGUS TAYLOR: No, it's not true. Look, our position is very clear. We've got strong targets. We're focused on emissions reduction. We're delivering. We're going to over deliver on our 2020 targets by a significant margin, 411 million tonnes as of December last year. We're nailing it and we will continue to because this matters. This is important. We are unified. But I will make this point, we see division within the Labor Party. In particular we've seen on the one hand, Joel Fitzgibbon spruiking carbon capture and storage. On the other hand, Mark Butler has been saying the whole thing is a pipe dream. We're focused, we're unified, we're getting on with it.
JOURNALIST: Will you commit to net zero emissions by 2050?
ANGUS TAYLOR: We have a very clear set of targets, 26 per cent emission reduction by 2030, and we have a joint commitment through the Paris Agreement with countries around the world to deliver a net zero in the second half of the century. And let's be clear about this - Australia is 1.3 per cent of emissions. We need to work closely with countries across the globe to deliver outcomes. That's how we're going to achieve the outcomes. That's the only way we can achieve the outcomes.
JOURNALIST: Anthony Albanese also wouldn't rule out putting a price on carbon, only saying that he won't use the same policy or the old system, but he's be looking for a new framework. Is that something you'd be willing to talk to him about?
ANGUS TAYLOR: Our focus is clear. It's technology, not taxation. Now we heard the Leader of the Opposition today a number of times fail to rule out a carbon tax. And that has been the favoured policy position of the Labor government time and time again, whether it's an explicit one or a sneaky one. But our focus is clear: it's technology, not taxation, it's bringing down the cost of energy, it is making sure that Australians can make ends meet, whether in their households or in their businesses. That's our focus.
JOURNALIST: Wouldn't that give businesses certainty to invest in renewables, and also, isn't that needed to boost jobs, particularly post-COVID?
ANGUS TAYLOR: Well they are investing. In 2019, we saw $9 billion of investment in new capacity, primarily renewables, in this country - 6300 megawatts - and we're continuing to see investment at a rapid rate. So it is happening. We need to make sure it's balanced. We need to make sure there's a balance of fuel sources, that ensures that we can drive down prices, keep the lights on, and bring down emissions at the time without wrecking the economy. That's our focus.
JOURNALIST: Would you commit to nuclear energy?
ANGUS TAYLOR: We have a moratorium, and there's no plan to change the moratorium. Small modular reactors are in the Technology Investment Roadmap-
JOURNALIST: Sorry, there was no plan before COVID, but will there be one after?
ANGUS TAYLOR: I'm saying that there is a moratorium and there's no plan to change the moratorium. But let's be clear, we need many horses in the race in terms of technology. Small modular reactors are evolving quickly around the world and we'll keep a close eye on it, as we said in our Technology Investment Roadmap.