Interview with Luke Grant, 2GB Evenings

Luke Grant
Solar 30/30/30, Sydney Festival, Human Rights

Luke Grant: Now, the coalition says it is making ultra low cost solar technology a priority in a bid to reduce energy costs, lower emissions and of course, deliver more jobs now. This is not a subsidy to put solar panels on the roof. Rather, the government plans to make money available for research and development in the new technology to eventually aim for a cost as low as $15 per megawatt hour. Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese is taking his climate policy to the regions. He's been up in Queensland. He says his climate plan has been really well received in regional parts of north and Central Queensland, heavily dependent, of course, on mining and coal power. Tim Wilson is the Assistant Minister for industry and energy, and I'm delighted to say he's on the line compliments of the season. Tim, hope you're well. 

Tim Wilson MP: Well, I think that's- why can't we say Happy New Year anymore, Luke, or can we? 

Luke Grant: I think we should. Happy New Year Tim! 

Tim Wilson MP: Happy New Year to you and to your listeners. 

Luke Grant: Good to talk to you again. Tell me about this. This plan announced today, particularly this 30/ 30/30. What is it and what does it mean for the humble consumer like me? 

Tim Wilson MP: Right? Well, with solar 30/30/30 is the initiative of the government to get 30 per cent module efficiency on solar PVs, which basically means producing more energy at a cost of 30 cents per installed watt, which means it's cheaper at a utility scale, meaning, you know, obviously it's larger by 2030. So what we're trying to do is get more output for less input at a cheaper price so if you chuck solar panels on your roof. You'll get better outcomes. But of course, if you're investing in things like solar farms, they'll also be more competitive in the cost to manufacturers and businesses. Energy will also go down, and I guess the difference is what we're really focusing on is how do we build or power through the future of growth of the Australian economy while getting to carbon neutrality? It's actually about investing in technology, not not focusing on taxes as a way to get us there. 

Luke Grant: So this is actually getting a better result for your solar panels and trying to get people who work in that space to come up with the the answers and then that becomes practically used on rooftops around Australia. Is that it? 

Tim Wilson MP: That's right. I mean, at the moment, you've got 90 per cent of the world's solar panels use Australian technology in them. And so what we want to do is power ahead of the future and be part of the solutions for the next chapter solar, so that we can continue to grow our economy, create jobs and not just cut Australia's emissions, but cut global emissions too and be part of the global solution. So it's pretty exciting and it's how we're future focused through the use of technology and not taxes to solve the climate challenge, but also, frankly, to make a buck along the way. 

Luke Grant: We have forever been accused of being, you know, the out of touch country in the southern hemisphere. That doesn't care too much about climate or climate change, but we do. I reckon we do a pretty ordinary job in defending ourselves in terms of solar panel use around Australia compared to the rest of the world per person. I guess we're pretty good, aren't we? 

Tim Wilson MP: We are - one in four Australian households. We've got rooftop solar and you know, there's a lot of people who like to talk about these sorts of policies, and they all focus on what everybody intends to do. It's like saying, you know, I intend to lose 20 kilos and everybody gives me applause. But the reality is the person actually loses 20 kilos is the person who actually has delivered. And around the world, lots of countries talk the talk. But we're one of the few countries that really cut our emissions down by 20 per cent already on 2005 levels projected to get down to 35 per cent to update that 35 per cent by 2030. So we're powering ahead not just in terms of cutting emissions and being part of the global climate solution. We're powering ahead in doing it while creating jobs and using technology that can actually build the future and power the future of the Australian economy. And I've got to say, that's pretty exciting. 

Luke Grant: Yeah, our Albo's been up there in Queensland trying to court voters taking. He's climate policy to the regions. The difference between what he wants to do and you're doing is that going to result in plenty of former LNP voters flowing across to the Labor Party at the upcoming election, Tim? 

Tim Wilson MP: Oh, I don't think so. I think everybody knows deep down that Labor's only chance of forming government is if they work in coalition with the Greens like they did last time. That means that the Greens policy will be the one that dictates what's in government, not Labor's. And Labor's climate credibility is already frankly in tatters. They released the policy just before Christmas, which said they're going to increase the access to electric vehicles by removing the tariffs. You know, the import measures. That increase the cost of cars- electric vehicles, 70 per cent of imported electric vehicles are already tariff free, so they've got nothing to do. In fact, those would tariff cuts delivered by the coalition government under our free trade agreements. I think everyone will see it for the smoke and mirrors that it is.

Luke Grant: Yeah, like, they were going to fix, you know, vaccinations by getting Kevin to ring the boss of Pfizer and give everyone 300 bucks. And we're sitting there about 95 percent. In some places, it's it's ridiculous. 

Tim Wilson MP: In the electorate I represent Luke, I think we're nearly ninety six per cent vaccination rate so. Clearly they didn't need the 300 bucks? In fact, what I would have been is a massive waste of money. Unsurprisingly, people care about their health and they didn't need a financial incentive to get along the way. 

Luke Grant: No, exactly right. I noticed Peter Dutton, the defence minister, made some, I think, really good comments in relation to what we should be thinking about China, in particular, the treatment of Uyghurs. And I think saw you support that on social media. I mean, we can't just we've got a story in Sydney around the Sydney Festival, and I spoke to the Australian Jewish Association last week, and there is in their mind, clear anti-Semitism involved here. We can't pick and choose. We can't just pick and choose human rights, can we? I mean, if if one is bad, they're all bad, surely? 

Tim Wilson MP: Well, the principle absolutely remains the same. And what Peter Dutton was doing was highlighting, frankly, the hypocrisy of so much of the women's movement who don't want to speak up against the ill treatment of the Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai , who is basically being detained now for I think it's well over a year. And let's face it, you know, it does matter. She's a she's an international tennis star and she's been detained and there's been barely a peep out of many parts of the of the community who normally speak up about these things. And that's the point. We, you know, when you stand up for human rights, you've got to be consistent and you've got to speak up on all issues and you can't just do it when you get applauded along the way on Twitter. As a lot of the progressive left like, you know, the Australian Jewish Council 100 per cent write about the hypocrisy around the Sydney Festival and the boycotts that are going on there. I mean, it's clear anti-Semitism where people are deliberately boycotting the festival because the Israeli embassy is providing some support for an arts festival that frankly celebrates diversity and remember diversity? It used to be a thing that people liked Luke. Well, now now, unless you can, unless you conform and unless you're, you know, you're unilateral in your thinking and you conform to the left wing view of the world, you got no place in some parts of society- spare me. 

Luke Grant: Yeah, that's exactly right. Always good to talk to you, Tim. Thanks so much for your time. 

Tim Wilson MP: Thanks Luke, take care. 

Luke Grant: You, too. That's the Assistant Energy Minister Tim Wilson.