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Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

21 April 2021

Ben Fordham

Subject: Emissions reduction


BEN FORDHAM:    The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, indicated we're moving towards net zero emissions by 2050. Angus Taylor, is the Federal Energy Minister and he's kindly agreed to join us this morning. Angus Taylor, good morning to you. 

ANGUS TAYLOR:    Good morning, Ben. Thanks for having me. 

BEN FORDHAM:    First of all, I just want to ask you about your announcement today. You are announcing a new investment in renewables, particularly in hydrogen and carbon capture technology. 

ANGUS TAYLOR:    Well, it's actually an investment in bringing down emissions, but most importantly, investing in jobs in our regional areas. This is about establishing hydrogen hubs, hubs to produce hydrogen for use in Australia and for our customers offshore, and carbon capture and storage which will allow us to bring down emissions of gas generators, for instance, but at the same time, keep that affordable, reliable power we need. Places like the Hunter Valley are absolutely where we want to do this. We want to see investment in those regional areas, in those regional energy hubs, like in the Hunter Valley, the Latrobe Valley in Victoria, Gladstone in Queensland. These are technologies that allow us to innovate and bring down emissions and have affordable, reliable power. It doesn't eliminate industries and that's our focus. 

BEN FORDHAM:    Okay. John Barilaro is promising a future fund to support coal towns into the future. $25 million would be added every year. So, what? This is a form of JobKeeper, is it? For when coal mines close down? 

ANGUS TAYLOR:    Well, that's a matter for the New South Wales Government. But I'll tell you what we want to do, is strengthen those coal communities, not weaken them. Coal will play a big role in our energy mix for many years to come. It's an important source of our energy right now and will continue to be. Carbon capture and storage, which is one of the technologies we're investing in today is all about making sure we can continue to support those important industries but at the same time bring down our emissions. And you know, this is about innovation to bring down our emissions, not eliminating industries, which is what Labor has always wanted to do and what others want to do. We don't want to do that, we want to strengthen places like the Hunter Valley, Ben. That's absolutely the core of our focus. 

BEN FORDHAM:    The Prime Minister says we're moving towards net zero emissions by 2050. But he says this can't be achieved in wine bars, in cafes, in dinner parties. So, where will it be achieved? 

ANGUS TAYLOR:    Well, I'd make two points about that. The first is, we actually committed under the Paris Agreement, back when Tony Abbott was Prime Minister, to achieving global net zero. So, that's not new. But we want to achieve this through technology and deploying technology and creating jobs in places like the Hunter Valley. And it's not in the dinner parties in inner city areas where these problems are going to be solved. They get talked about a lot there, there's no doubt about that. But our focus is on creating jobs in those regional areas - in agriculture, in mining, in industry. That's where we need to create the jobs, and we will be creating jobs as we deploy these technologies that bring down emissions and at the same time, deliver affordable, reliable energy. 

BEN FORDHAM:    We always appreciate your time. Thanks for waking up with us this morning. 

ANGUS TAYLOR:    Good on you, Ben. Thanks for having us.