Interview with David Koch, Sunrise
DAVID KOCH: Tax cuts are reportedly on the agenda in a busy week for the Federal Government lead up to budget time. News Corp reports 10 million workers stand to benefit, with the low and middle income tax offset originally set to end on June 30, likely to be extended for another year. Elsewhere, jobs could be lost in Victoria after Foreign Minister Marise Payne tore up the controversial Belt and Road agreement between Victoria and China. While Scott Morrison will be under pressure to increase Australia's climate commitments at a virtual summit hosted by US President Joe Biden tonight. Joining me now is the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor. Minister, good to see you. We'll get to the environment in a minute, the big news story is extending the tax offset to low and middle income earners in the budget. Can you confirm it?
ANGUS TAYLOR: I'm not going to confirm anything in the budget, that's up to the Treasurer. But I tell you what, we are a government of lower taxes, not higher taxes. And that's true when it comes to my portfolio, which is bringing down emissions. We're not going to impose a carbon tax, that's for sure.
DAVID KOCH: Right.
ANGUS TAYLOR: That's not how we get emissions down. Taxes are a problem for jobs, for investment.
DAVID KOCH: Okay.
ANGUS TAYLOR: And so we like to have lower taxes as a government and we always will.
DAVID KOCH: Okay. Good hint there, it will be extended. But you talk about jobs, Marise Payne has overturned Victoria's Belt and Road agreement with China. Dan Andrews, Victorian Premier, is saying this will cost jobs. So why tear it up if you're all about creating jobs? This will reduce them.
ANGUS TAYLOR: Kochie, we are doing extremely well on jobs given the COVID environment. We've had far better than anyone expected. But we will stand up for Australia's values at all times, and Australia's interests. And that's exactly what we're doing here and that is what-
DAVID KOCH: So you're putting that ahead of jobs?
ANGUS TAYLOR: Well, no. It's not a matter of putting it ahead of jobs. We're doing well on jobs and we'll continue to do well on jobs. The point is we need to stand up for Australia's interest, that's what we've done here and that's what we'll always do.
DAVID KOCH: Okay. The Prime Minister is joining Joe Biden tonight, a lot of other world leaders for emission reductions, on climate change. We've been pretty poor on this, so what's the Prime Minister going to be talking about?
ANGUS TAYLOR: Well, that’s not right. When you look at the scoreboard, Australia's performance is strong. We have done-
DAVID KOCH: It is half of the UK's.
ANGUS TAYLOR: We have done better. Let's look at the scoreboard, Kochie-
DAVID KOCH: Yeah, yeah, well the scoreboard says we're half.
ANGUS TAYLOR: We've done better than New Zealand, than Canada, than France, than Germany-
DAVID KOCH: You're cherry picking.
ANGUS TAYLOR: And the United States.
DAVID KOCH: Okay, UK is reducing emissions by 68 per cent by 2030, 78 per cent by 2035. We're 26 to 28 per cent. That's the scoreboard.
ANGUS TAYLOR: So these are promises. And we will deliver. We'll meet and beat our targets, but the real thing that matters at the end of the day for emissions reduction is outcomes, and we're delivering the outcomes, Kochie.
DAVID KOCH: You're sort of bamboozling us with statistics, because Coalition has been terrible. Go back to when the Tesla battery was first introduced and built in South Australia, you were scathing about it. It has been such a success, it has been expanded. Most of the carbon emissions reductions have been by the states, not the feds.
ANGUS TAYLOR: Well that's not right. I mean-
DAVID KOCH: Well it is, it is right.
ANGUS TAYLOR: When we look at Australia's performance, across the board, it is outstanding - 19 per cent reduction since 2005.
DAVID KOCH: It's not outstanding.
ANGUS TAYLOR: The highest level of household solar in the world, Kochie. If you get around the suburbs, your viewers will see it. We have more household solar on rooves than any other country in the world. That's been supported by sensible, practical policies. And it is this practical action that matters, it’s not the virtue signalling, it's the practical action. $1.1 billion we've announced in the last two days for practical technologies that will get down emissions.
DAVID KOCH: Just on that, the $260 million on carbon capture, sounds terrific. We've already spent $1.3 billion on carbon capture. What's it achieved? What's it delivered for us?
ANGUS TAYLOR: We have got the biggest carbon capture project in the world in Western Australia-
DAVID KOCH: But what's it done for our emissions?
ANGUS TAYLOR: Four million tonnes a year being reduced from that project.
DAVID KOCH: Sounds a lot.
ANGUS TAYLOR: And we'll continue to see this. This is practical action, and that is about making sure we don't raise the electricity bills of Australians, we don't destroy jobs, we strengthen our regions not weaken them, and we bring down our emissions at the same time. And that's exactly what we're achieving, in the practical, Australian way that we always do things, Kochie. We deliver the outcomes. That's what counts at the end of the day.
DAVID KOCH: Angus Taylor, thanks for joining us.
ANGUS TAYLOR: Thanks for having me.