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Doorstop, Sydney Olympic Park, Sydney

23 February 2020

Subject: Climate, emissions reduction


ANGUS TAYLOR: Can I acknowledge the extraordinary service we've just been a part of? A memorial service for firefighters and members of the community who tragically lost their lives in the fires across New South Wales over recent weeks and months. Of course, it's incredibly important to celebrate the lives and the contributions and sacrifice of those extraordinary people that we were here today to celebrate. I pay tribute to all of them, both the firefighters and the members of the community. It was a tough time, I know from my own experience in my own electorate, for so many and right across this great state and across this great nation we think of those people today, and we pay tribute to their families as well through this difficult time.

Now, today, we've seen Anthony Albanese at it again. He is a man without a plan. He is all target and no plan. What we've seen is Labor announce a new target, a net zero 2050 target without a plan, without funding, without explaining the costing and most importantly, without explaining the implications of this target for people working in agriculture, farmers, people working in transport and so many other energy-intensive, emissions-intensive industries across this great nation. They deserve an explanation from Anthony Albanese about what he has in mind. At the last election, we saw Bill Shorten bring forward policies for a 45 per cent emission reduction target and he never explained the costs, he never explained the impacts on jobs, on industries, on regions - and Labor is doing it all over again. It's simply not good enough. Meanwhile, we're focused on a 26 per cent emission reduction target. We'll meet and beat by almost a years' worth of emissions our 2020 target. We're on track to beat our 2030 target. We're focused on plans that are explained to the Australian people, that are fully funded, where the costs are clear.

JOURNALIST:  Minister, we've clearly got an issue here though with climate change in Australia. We have seen absolutely devastating bushfires - undoubtedly more serious because of the significant drought we have in this state. Are you doing enough? Obviously Labor's plan is large, it is ambitious, but are you truly standing here saying we are doing enough?

ANGUS TAYLOR: We are absolutely focused on meeting our international obligations. We should. I mean, you are dead right - there were devastating bushfires in this state and across this country in recent months, and we have to do our bit and we are doing our bit. As well look forward we know that beyond 2030 it is crucial that we have in place the strategies that will continue to deliver emissions reductions but also will support other countries to reduce their emissions. China and India must reduce their emissions if we are to solve this problem. It's crucial we have the technologies in place that allow countries like that, and most importantly for us, Australia, to reduce its emissions without shedding jobs, without destroying regions and industries. That's our focus. Our technology roadmap will come out in the near future and that will lead into our long-term strategy as we move towards Glasgow, laying out a path forward that doesn't destroy the economy. But I'll tell you what we won't do. We won't set a target where we don't explain the costs, the impacts on people's jobs, on industries, and on the broader economy. We simply will not do that.

JOURNALIST: Anthony Albanese says that it will hit that zero net emissions by 2050, even with exported coal. Do you believe that?

ANGUS TAYLOR: Well, he needs to explain that. He needs to explain that to the Australian people. See, this is the whole problem - he hasn't explained the plan. He hasn't told us the costings, he hasn't told us the impacts, and this is exactly where Bill Shorten went at the last election. It's the same old Labor with the same old tricks.

JOURNALIST: Moderate Liberals like Trent Zimmerman want to see a zero net target. Does your criticism apply to him as well?

ANGUS TAYLOR: What I am saying is that the Leader of the Opposition, the leader of Labor, having gone to an election which they lost where they refused to explain the costs, the impacts on jobs, the impacts on farmers, on truckies, on people working in the transport and manufacturing sectors - they failed to explain that. They're doing it all over again. So, this is simply not good enough. Our policies are fully explained. We've laid them out. We've laid out all the details of exactly what we're doing. Central to that is the $3.5 billion Climate Solutions Fund. $1.38 billion on the Snowy project. On Marinus. We’re seeing world-leading investments in renewable energy. We're seeing extraordinary levels of energy efficiency across the country. We're seeing land management initiatives driven by farmers to ensure that we sequester as much carbon as we can in our land. All of these things are being driven by this Government - practical action, clearly focused on our 2020 targets, which we'll meet and beat, and our 2030 targets, which we'll also meet and beat.

JOURNALIST: Can you please just confirm, Minister, whether you're taking a target or a strategy to Glasgow? There was a bit of confusion on Friday.

ANGUS TAYLOR: We have been very clear that we're taking a long-term strategy beyond 2030 to Glasgow. But we are also taking 2030 targets, and 2020 targets, which we will meet and beat. And just to put this in perspective, I mean, we will beat our 2020 targets by almost a years' worth of emissions. Now, when Labor left government in 2012, they forecast emissions to be over 100 million tonnes higher than they are this year. And they had a carbon tax in place. We are focused on practical action - on technologies, not taxes.

JOURNALIST: What is the cost of inaction, though? What is the cost of not doing this?

ANGUS TAYLOR: We need to act. I mean, we've been very clear on this. We need to act. We need to do our bit. The only way to solve this problem is through international action, and we need to do our bit, and we are doing our bit.

JOURNALIST: Just on another issue. Another rort - billions of dollars has been exposed in the Urban Congestion Fund. Eighty-three per cent of the $3 billion went to marginal seats. Isn't this wasteful and just another example of pork-barrelling?

ANGUS TAYLOR: I'll leave the details of this to my colleague, the Minister for Infrastructure. But what I will say is that busting congestion is absolutely crucial to middle Australia. If you look out to the west of here, we're building a second airport for Sydney and around it unprecedented billions of dollars in road projects to ensure that people can get from home to work sooner and safer. That's what we need. That's what our investment, $100 billion in infrastructure over the next 10 years, $4 billion in the Urban Congestion Fund, and these are crucial initiatives to ensure people can get between home and work and wherever they may be going, safely and sooner.

JOURNALIST:  But don't you concede that it does look like trying to buy votes?

ANGUS TAYLOR: Look, these are initiatives that are actually going to reduce the time for people to get to where they're going, and that's what people want. Now, if you look at that particular fund you're talking about, two thirds of the commitments were election commitments. They went to the Australian people. And included in it were Labor electorates. So this is a fund focused on making people's lives safer, and most importantly, giving them time back with their families.

JOURNALIST: So you're saying it's just a coincidence that they ended up in marginal seats? 83 per cent were marginal seats.

ANGUS TAYLOR: There's a mix of seats they went across, including Labor seats. They're the facts. A mix of seats that they went across. But look, I'll put it into contrast with what Labor went to at the last election, which was 60 projects all for their own seats. That's what they went to the last election with. Now, we've gone to the last election with a very clear policy on infrastructure - $100 billion - and out here in central and western Sydney these projects really matter to people's lives.

JOURNALIST:  Just one more question. Senator Sarah Henderson has come out and slammed Bettina Arndt's comments in regards to Rowan Baxter and that case in Brisbane. She says it's so appalling that she congratulates police, that she should be stripped of her Australia Day honour. What's your view?

ANGUS TAYLOR: It was a truly tragic event. I haven't seen Sarah's comments, so I've got no comment to make on it. But it was a truly, truly tragic event and I feel so much for the family and friends who were involved in any way.

JOURNALIST:  But Bettina Arndt, who was-

ANGUS TAYLOR: I'm not aware of those comments.