Browsing articles in "Interview Transcripts"
Oct 26, 2006

Shadow Minister outlines ALP policies to address global warming – Lateline

Shadow Minister outlines ALP policies to address global warming

LATELINE

Thursday 26 October 2006

TONY JONES: But the opposition says the Federal Government isn’t serious about solar power because it prefers nuclear power. Joining me now is the opposition spokesman on the environment, Anthony Albanese. Thanks for being here.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good evening.

TONY JONES: You heard what Ian Campbell says. If it’s economically viable to build 178 solar power stations like the one planned for Victoria, Australia could become fully powered by the sun. It’s a visionary idea. Do you support it?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Ian Campbell is good at making grand statements, in the next breath also he stated that Australia was the world leader potentially in solar energy. In fact, under the Howard Government, 10 years ago, Australia had 10 per cent of the global market. We now have two per cent. Under this government’s program, we’ve seen a collapse, effectively, of the renewable energy industry, because of its failure to have a plan. Now, one-off projects like this project that was announced yesterday, the solar systems project, are worthwhile, but it’s important to recognise that the only reason why it’s viable according to the company itself is because of the Victorian renewable energy target. What that says to you is that you need to put in place a real plan with economic mechanisms not just make grand platitudes and statements as the Environment Minister did last night.

TONY JONES: You heard what Ian Campbell said. If the sums add up, you’d be mad not to do it. Could you actually power the whole country using solar energy with this new technology?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, what you need to do is put in place the market-based mechanisms which will ensure that the best, least cost way of reducing our emissions comes through. That’s why Labor has a plan. Labor’s plan is to ratify the Kyoto protocol, to be part of that global effort, to have a price on carbon through a national emissions trading scheme, to significantly increase the mandatory renewable energy target beyond its pathetic two per cent at the moment. So these one-off projects are worthwhile, but they won’t be sustainable and they won’t be multiplied or commercialised on a big scale that’s necessary unless you have those mechanisms in place.

TONY JONES: Okay. We’ll come to the detail of carbon trading and pricing and all of those things in a moment, but could the technology be there to make base-generated power from solar energy, in other words, could all houses, households in Australia, like the 45,000 they’re hoping to power up with this solar power station, be powered in the future by solar power?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I think what we need is not just one solution. Certainly, one of the things that it indicates is in the same breath last night, I heard the minister speak about how we can’t actually put in place these bigger mechanisms because the technology isn’t there yet. At the same time of course this project is evidence that the technology is there. There is a solar thermal project opening this month in Spain, powered by innovation. In Australia, it’s unfortunate we’ve lost. We’ve been very good at innovation. What we haven’t been good at is commercialising those opportunities. So certainly solar thermal and base load capacity is an option. You also have the Ladelle power station in the Hunter Valley. There are a number of examples where we have in practice solar projects, along with other renewables. I do think also we need to look at clean coal technology. I don’t think that’s certainly not going to disappear overnight. What we need to do is invest in all these new technologies, but set up the framework so that the least cost method of reducing our emissions comes through.

TONY JONES: I’m trying to get a sense here as to whether it is technically feasible to actually power Australian households solely with one source, the source that’s most abundantly available in Australia, that is, solar power, which is totally clean, has no emissions at all, you don’t have to pump CO2 into the ground, you don’t need coal at all?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It is totally clean, but is it likely that in the foreseeable future that will be the sole solution? No, it’s not. We’re going to need a suite of technologies, including other forms of renewable energy as well. Wind, tidal energy, geothermal, and also, whilst working to make sure that our coal is actually made clean and that we move towards emissions free technology there as well.

TONY JONES: Do you need a plan, though, and will you need a plan as you go into the next election, will you be able to say to the Australian people, "These are the series of technologies we will put in place. We’re going to build this many plants or cause to be built this many plants through infrastructure spending, through grants and subsidies, and we can actually give you a kind of guarantee for the future as to where power is going to come from."

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I think you’re getting it the wrong way round. What Labor has a plan for is to establish the mechanism so that that comes through. If you establish a national emissions trading scheme which has a price on carbon, what you’ll see emerge is the least cost way of reducing our emissions. You’ll see an expansion of renewable energy. At the moment we have massive constraints. I mean, Australia is the only country on the planet where renewable energy projects are actually closing. We saw the minister block the Bald Hills wind farm in Victoria. We saw just in August, the renewable manufacturing plant in northern Tasmania close. We saw the Roaring 40s company, because of the failure to increase the renewable energy target in the last budget, not proceed with $550 million worth of projects in Tasmania and South Australia. And we saw the Environment Minister last week, up in China, opening a project, but it was a project totally funded through the clean development mechanism of the Kyoto protocol. That was a project 51 per cent owned by China, and therefore was eligible for those carbon credits through those economic incentives. Unless we actually have economic incentives, you won’t get the deployment of that new technology and to suggest otherwise is just a triumph of hope over experience.

TONY JONES: The flip side of economic incentives is economic disincentives. In other words, you do have to penalise those who pump CO2 into the atmosphere in some way. Is that not true?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, you do have to price carbon. That’s right. But an effective national emissions trading scheme will do that, and let’s have the market work it out. You have an extraordinary position, really, whereby the government is saying "We’ll pick winners." It’s all about politics, not about good policy. So you have funds established, such as the half a billion dollar fund, the low emission technology fund. That was established in June 2004. What do we see? Absolutely nothing for more than two years and then announcements and we’ll see more announcements in the lead up to the election, because the thing that characterises this government isn’t a look to the future, isn’t a plan; it’s all about politics and one-off announcements. Now, you can’t have a command economy solution to climate change. What you need to do is harness the power of the market to achieve the objective that you need. That reduction in emissions.

TONY JONES: The market is calling for, is asking for and individuals within the market at least are asking for a pricing signal. They want to know if they’re making investments into the future, how much it’s going to cost them to pump CO2 into the atmosphere. Can you give them and will Labor be able to give them a direct answer to that question?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Absolutely. We will establish a national emissions target, a national emissions trading scheme. We will have a long term target. We’ve said we have an objective of a 60 per cent reduction in emissions by the year 2050. Now, that’s the figure that the scientists tell us is necessary if we’re going to avoid dangerous climate change.

TONY JONES: Okay. So what is then the penalty or the tax that’s imposed on those who put CO2 into the atmosphere?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: The way that an emissions trading scheme works is that you have permits to emit, carbon allocated, and then you’re able to trade those permits so that you get the least cost emissions coming through. Yes, it is the case that therefore, you have an economic incentive for a move to a carbon constrained economy and by definition also there you have some disincentives but what you don’t have is this idea that somehow bureaucrats in Canberra can decide this is the solution or the way forward for project A, B and C. We need – if you’re going to actually move the economy forward, what you need is a whole of government approach, and you need to embrace what is the world’s biggest emerging market. I find it extraordinary that members of the government can acknowledge that the carbon trading market will be the biggest market in the world, but we don’t want to be a part of it.

TONY JONES: What you’re saying effectively is that the current price that people are paying for electricity is too low because they’re actually not pricing in the CO2 that goes into the atmosphere. So what’s your estimate under this system for how much electricity prices for an average household would go up?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Look, what’s clear is that emissions trading will be the least cost way of providing these solutions. Next week, we’re going to see a report from …

TONY JONES: But you did talk about disincentives, so electricity prices will have to go up, won’t they?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, what we’re going to see, and it is that this is the least cost way of reducing emissions. Now, the Stern Report is going to be released next week in the UK and that will be for the first time a very comprehensive analysis of the cost of inaction, and that’s what we need to work out here. If we’re going to move forward the economy, it is far better and what business is saying, the business round table on climate change and other leading businesses are saying "We need certainty in order to provide that investment so that we can move forward."

TONY JONES: Anthony Albanese, we’re out of time. We’ll have to go into this in more detail in the future. Thanks very much for talking to us.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to talk to you, Tony.

 

Oct 25, 2006

Transcript of Doorstop – Re-announcement of low emission technology funding

Transcript of Doorstop Interview, Domain, rear of NSW Parliament House

25 October 2006

Subject: Re-announcement of one-off low emission technology funding, climate change strategy, Kyoto, investment in renewables.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Today’s announcement by Peter Costello and Ian Macfarlane shows that the Howard Government is playing catch up on climate change.

Peter Costello has failed to mention the issue of climate change in delivering 11 Budgets. Ian Macfarlane said just last month that he questions whether there is a connection between greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

Today’s announcement is welcome as a one-off but it has been more than two years in the making. This is funding that was announced in June 2004 as part of the Government’s Energy White Paper. And it has taken more than two years to get a single project announcement.

The government is good at allocating money to funds and then making political decisions at politically convenient times about announcements. But on the issue of climate change, we require a systematic response.

Climate Change is a systematic issue which requires a systematic response. Whilst Labor welcomes one-off announcements, what we need is a systematic response across the board.

We need to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. We need to have significant increase in our Mandatory Renewable Energy Target. We need a national target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and we need to have a price on carbon by having a national emissions trading system.

Unless we have that systematic structural reform to drive change towards a carbon constrained economy, then we will be continually playing catch up.

What we need is that across the board approach – and that is what is lacking from a government that isn’t making the serious moves that are necessary towards avoiding dangerous climate change.

JOURNALIST: How would signing up to Kyoto and ratifying the CDM, how would that improve investment in clean technology in Australia?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Were Australia a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol we would have access to the Clean Development Mechanism and also the Joint Implementation measures of Kyoto. That means that in practice, like we witnessed last week when the Environment Minister, Ian Campbell travelled to China to open a $300 million joint venture project between the Roaring 40s Company and a Chinese company. That project was 51% owned by the Chinese company which made it eligible for funding under the clean development mechanism of Kyoto.

Here you have a government that is prepared to send its Ministers overseas to open Kyoto based projects providing opportunities for Australia, which at the same time says that it is not worthwhile to ratify Kyoto.

Australia remains, in spite of today’s announcement, the only nation on the planet in which clean energy projects are closing.

It is shutting the photovoltaic rebate project from June of next year because it’s been too successful. It blocked the Bald Hills wind farm project worth $220 million in Victoria.

It has failed to increase the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target, which has lead to the Roaring 40s Company, which opened the project in China, to not proceed with $550 million worth of projects in Tasmania and South Australia. The renewable energy manufacturing plant in northern Tasmania run by Vestas Nacelel, is shutting this year with a loss of 100 jobs.

Australia remains the only nation on the planet where renewable energy projects are actually closing.

JOURNALIST: You are calling for emissions trading in Australia. In the EU it has so far failed to drive any significant investment in clean technology. What makes you think it is going to work in Australia?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: There have been some difficulties with the European system and we need to learn from them, but at the same time we have seen enormous growth in renewable energy projects in Europe. Last week I met with a Danish delegation where renewable energy projects are heading towards 20% of their energy provision, where there has been an increase of 30,000 jobs, where renewable energy exports for the Danish economy are now at number three in terms of their export dollars.

There is a massive growth in Europe in the renewable energy sector and projects such as a solar thermal plant will open in Spain this year providing base load capacity, using Australian innovation. Australia has been very good at innovation but what we haven’t been good at is commercialising those ideas.

We need a price signal. There are two sorts of price signals you can have – a market based mechanism though emissions trading, or a carbon tax. We support an emissions trading system because we oppose a new tax such as a tax on carbon.

JOURNALIST: What is the difference then between your approach and the$500 million dollars that had been put down on the table by the Federal Government?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: The essential difference is that while we support funding for one off projects, and of course it is important to recognise that this is a jointly funded project between the Federal Government and the Victorian State Labor Government.

What we support is structural reform that drives investment in renewable and clean technologies – by establishing emissions trading, by having a Renewable Energy Target, by having a long term mandated target to reduce our emissions.

Unless you have those economic incentives you won’t be able to solve the climate change problems by announcing one off projects.

We need a whole of government approach in order to move towards a carbon constrained economy. That is the big difference between Labor and the Federal Government.

It is not surprising given that the government has sceptics at its head. John Howard just three weeks ago said that he wasn’t interested in what might happen in 50 years time when it came to responding to the drought.

It is clear the climate change is here and now. What today’s announcement reinforces is that the technological solutions are here right now. What we need to do is multiply the application of those new technologies so that we really drive down our emissions which are currently spiralling out of control.

Thank you.

THE END

Oct 19, 2006

Transcript of Media Conference, Parliament House – Kyoto, Wind Farms, Nuclear

Transcript of Media Conference, Parliament House, Canberra

19 October 2006

Subject: Kyoto Protocol, jobs, Chinese wind farm, French nuclear power proposal

ANTHONY ALBANESE: When Robert Hill was the Environment Minister we actually had an Environment Minister for this nation who put a consistent environmental position, not one I completely agreed with him on, but one that understood the great challenge of climate change.

In the year 2000, Robert Hill said, ‘there are those who foolishly believe there is something to win by derailing the Kyoto Protocol’.

Well, this week we have seen our current Environment Minister, Ian Campbell exposed as a fraud and a fool. Ian Campbell travelled to China to open the Roaring 40s joint venture wind project there. That’s a project that’s worth some $300 million. It is totally funded by the clean development mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol. That is made possible because it is a joint venture project, with a Chinese based company, 51% owned, and Roaring 40s, the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Company being 49%.

At the same time as the Howard Government day after day is prepared to trash the Kyoto Protocol, the Environment Minister is happy to smile for the cameras in China, opening a project funded through the Kyoto Protocol bringing economic return to an Australian based company. Were this a totally Australian based project it would not qualify under Kyoto because Australia hasn’t ratified the Kyoto Protocol and we would be missing out on this $300 million energy project.

Other renewable energy companies have travelled to China with the Minister. Australian companies are being forced to go off shore, plant their flag in New Zealand or Fiji or other countries that have ratified Kyoto in order to take advantage of the clean development mechanism.

Clean Development Mechanism projects that are already registered are worth some $133 billion by the year 2012 and yet we have continually in the Parliament of Australia, government ministers saying that Kyoto doesn’t apply to the developing world.

Of course it does apply. China, India and the other partners in the Asia Pacific Climate Pact are central to the Kyoto Protocol. I think it needs to be put in perspective, when the entire funding that has been allocated from the United States and Australia to the Asia Pacific Climate Pact is less than this single renewable energy project in China. I think it puts it in perspective.

It has also got to be said that we have an Environment Minister opening a wind farm in China and applauding that occurring at the same time that he has blocked the Bald Hills wind farm project in Victoria on spurious political grounds. He has failed to advance the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target beyond 2%, which has meant that projects by the Roaring 40s company in Tasmania, in South Australia, which were worth some $500 million, are not proceeding and in Tasmania the Vestas Nacelle wind turbine manufacturing plant is closing leading to a loss of a further one hundred jobs. This is just extraordinary.

Australia is the only country on earth in which renewable projects are shutting at the current time and that is a tragedy.

JOURNALIST: Senator Campbell has said that this Chinese wind farm project is a great example of technology between countries, the kind of thing that AP6 is promoting. So you are saying that this has nothing to do with AP6?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It is being funded totally under the Kyoto Protocol, under the Clean Development Mechanism. You had the extraordinary situation whereby Ministers are prepared to dissemble and hide behind what can be quite complex detail with regard to these arrangements. The Minister admitted on Lateline on Friday night that Kyoto projects were involved with this visit, but it has only been this week that it has been made very clear that this project is being funded through the clean development mechanism of Kyoto. The Minister is not at all serious. I think the public will judge whether $133 billion worth of projects by the year 2012 are more significant that the very small amount of money that has been allocated to the Climate Pact. That is why Kyoto signatories, Japan, Korea, China and India see the global Kyoto agreement as the main game.

We support technology transfer. We support co-operation between countries to exchange that technology, but unless you have a market based mechanism, such as emissions trading on a national basis, and such as the Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation market mechanism of Kyoto, you simply won’t have that transfer of technology and its application. It is a triumph of hope over experience to think that technology will just be applied without those economic incentives and market based mechanisms.

JOURNALIST: What do you think of the fact that a French company seems to be lining up to build us a nuclear power plant?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well I think with due respect to our friends from France, there would be a great deal of concern given the French Nuclear testing which occurred in the Pacific about any involvement particularly of France in the nuclear fuel cycle in Australia. But I think also it is the case that Australians don’t want any company building a nuclear reactor in Australia

I note that I had to raise with the Speaker this week, that in spite of the Parliamentary rules that state that Ministers must answer questions on notice within 60 days, it is now at least 100 days since I asked the Prime Minister to rule out nuclear reactors being built in each of the 150 electorates around Australia. The Prime Minister won’t rule out where the reactors will go or where the nuclear reactors will go because he is determined to impose his nuclear fantasy on Australia and that has been evidenced by the fact that he has pre-empted his inquiry of nuclear advocates that he established just some months ago before they have even had a chance to release a draft report. I think the Prime Minister’s activity this week has exposed this inquiry as an absolute farce.

JOURNALIST: What about the company’s statement that nuclear power could also ease water shortages in Australia?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Nuclear power plants use an enormous amount of water. The idea that we can put action on climate change on hold for 20 years while groups of nuclear reactors are built is simply absurd.

The truth is that nuclear energy is simply not a solution for climate change. It is interesting that nuclear advocates tend to be the very same people that are sceptical about climate change.

I think that says a fair bit.

JOURNALIST: What message do you think this company and others like it are getting from the government now?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I think they know that the Prime Minister has his own particular ideological fantasies. He had one about the GST for decades, he had one about his extreme industrial relations legislation for decades and he has one about nuclear energy which he has held for decades.

When you have an inquiry established in which a precondition of being on that inquiry is a record of advocacy for an expansion of Australia into the nuclear fuel cycle, then I think that they have worked out that if John Howard is elected at the next election then he will be determined to impose his nuclear vision on communities around Australia.

He is also determined not to let those particular communities know where the reactors would go and where the nuclear waste dumps would go.

JOURNALIST: David Suzuki was very assertive about the Prime Minister yesterday. What did you think of his speech?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I think David Suzuki is an outstanding environmentalist. What you have got to understand is that from a global perspective, Australia is an international pariah when it comes to climate change.

It is only the Howard Government following on from the Bush administration which has senior people in the government arguing essentially that the earth is flat.

The Prime Minister on 27 September, in response to water issues and the drought, made the extraordinary statement that, ‘he didn’t want to discuss events that might happen in 50 years time’.

Climate Change is here and it is here right now and it is having an impact. We need urgent action to address it and part of that is to stop, as Robert Hill called for some five years ago, the foolish idea that anyone has something to gain from a derailing of the Kyoto Protocol and a derailing of global action.

We are so far behind the game that it is just a joke and the statement of the Prime Minister and others are regarded as that by people in the international community, not just environmentalists but across the board. I met this morning with a delegation from the Danish government, a delegation right across the ideological spectrum; they have a conservative government there, absolutely committed to the Kyoto Protocol, absolutely committed to developing their renewable industry, now their third largest export, they have created 30,000 jobs in the sector, and they frankly, can’t understand Australia’s head in the sand position.

 

Oct 16, 2006

Partial Transcript of Doorstop, Kim Beazley, Amaroo School, Canberra

Partial Transcript of Doorstop, Amaroo School, Canberra

Leader of the Opposition

The Hon. Kim Beazley MP

16 October 2006

Subjects: Solar Schools; Drought/Climate Change

BEAZLEY: All praise to the good folk who planned and operate this school. This is the future of our country. This is schools which are at least in part solar powered, wind powered. It is a fantastic thing that a school as been constructed and operated along these principles. This is the way we deal with the global warming issues.

Our future is about renewables, not reactors. The lines are very clear; John Howard is now very firmly committed to a nuclear future for this nation. Nuclear reactors that will be the source of power generation here. We say no – that’s not the modern way. To be about a decent Australian future you’re about renewables. You’re about the solar power; the wind power that you can see now playing such a role, so effectively, ensuring the comfort and the convenience of the kids and the teachers in this school. That’s the way to go. That’s where we want to end up. That is why we’ll deal with our task in making sure Australia makes a contribution to reducing Greenhouse gas emissions. That is what will ensure, not just the future of this nation, but the future of the globe.

It also impacts of course on our response to this, on what happens with water. This school also has recycled water and the truth of the matter is this: If you’re not about dealing with climate change, with the heating up of our globe, you’re not dealing long-term, with the water crisis in this country. It’s as simple as that. So, if we’re going to deal both with the issues of global warming and if we’re going to deal with the water crisis, it’s the sorts of renewables that are represented by the powering of this school and of course too, by it’s recycled water performance – that’s the way to go. I’ll just let Anthony say a word or two.

ALBANESE: I’m very please to be here with Kim in support of Labor’s Solar Schools Policy. We’d make every school look like this, 10,000 solar schools around the nation. Why would we concentrate on schools as a first step? Because in recycling, what it showed was that if you concentrate on the schools the young people go back to their families and pretty soon the message gets out amongst the broader community.

Can I also say that tomorrow, the Environment Minister, Senator Campbell will lead a delegation to China of Australian Renewable Energy Providers. That is a hypocritical act beyond belief. This is a Government that is shutting down our renewable energy industry. We’ve had the Bald Hill winds farm, a $220 million project in Victoria stopped. We’ve seen the Vestas factory, producing wind turbines in Northern Tasmania closed with the loss of 100 jobs. And the very company, Roaring Forties, which is based in Tasmania, which is opening a $300 million wind farm in China, announced after the Budget they would not proceed with two wind projects in South Australia and Tasmania, worth some $550 million. It is a tragedy that renewable energy is welcome in China but not welcome here.

The Environment Minister, on Friday night, on Lateline made the comment that these companies were taking advantage of the clean development mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol. The only way in which they can do that is to set up business off-shore with offices in Fiji or New Zealand or some other country that has ratified Kyoto. So, here you have the case that even Australian companies are not being allowed to stay in Australia if they want to take advantage of the emerging trillion dollar industry that is in renewables.

JOURNALIST: Mr Beazley, the Government is expected to increase drought support to around about $2 billion, is that enough in your mind?

BEAZLEY: We will support anything that relieves the farmers. This is a terrible drought afflicting us and it’s rolling in on top of another drought and the farmers must be feeling the pinch terribly now. All our sympathies are with them. This is a nation which rallies around the farmers in circumstances like this and we are right to do so – that is the immediate – that’s what has to be done now. And we will stand alongside the Government supporting all measures which are effective in dealing with the problem. But that’s the here and now. The long-term, if you want to resolve these sorts of issues, or to lessen their impact, we clearly have to take a stand on dealing with the issues of global warming. Because you cannot resolve the water crisis long-term in this country without resolving the global warming issue.

JOURNALIST: Turning around the whole renewable energy situation in Australia is going to cost a lot of money. How will you do that, will you simply increase the renewable energy targets?

BEAZLEY: I think the thing that’s interesting about this is it actually saves money. It actually saves money on the operation of this school for example, of the use of solar powered systems and of wind power and it’s been put in place here with the development of a new school and a lot of the State Governments now are looking at ensuring that the new schools are environmentally friendly schools with these capacities. We think that the issues can largely be resolved with what you might describe as market-based solutions, putting in place emissions trading. So, it’s not something that impacts extremely heavily on the expenditures of government. It does to a degree, but when you’ve got the whole community rallied in behind it and taking the steps themselves, you can go an awful long way without big budgetary impacts.

For photos of this event, click here

 

Oct 16, 2006

Partial Transcript of Doorstop, Kim Beazley, Amaroo School, Canberra

Partial Transcript of Doorstop, Amaroo School, Canberra

Leader of the Opposition

The Hon. Kim Beazley MP

16 October 2006

Subjects: Solar Schools; Drought/Climate Change

BEAZLEY: All praise to the good folk who planned and operate this school. This is the future of our country. This is schools which are at least in part solar powered, wind powered. It is a fantastic thing that a school as been constructed and operated along these principles. This is the way we deal with the global warming issues.

Our future is about renewables, not reactors. The lines are very clear; John Howard is now very firmly committed to a nuclear future for this nation. Nuclear reactors that will be the source of power generation here. We say no – that’s not the modern way. To be about a decent Australian future you’re about renewables. You’re about the solar power; the wind power that you can see now playing such a role, so effectively, ensuring the comfort and the convenience of the kids and the teachers in this school. That’s the way to go. That’s where we want to end up. That is why we’ll deal with our task in making sure Australia makes a contribution to reducing Greenhouse gas emissions. That is what will ensure, not just the future of this nation, but the future of the globe.

It also impacts of course on our response to this, on what happens with water. This school also has recycled water and the truth of the matter is this: If you’re not about dealing with climate change, with the heating up of our globe, you’re not dealing long-term, with the water crisis in this country. It’s as simple as that. So, if we’re going to deal both with the issues of global warming and if we’re going to deal with the water crisis, it’s the sorts of renewables that are represented by the powering of this school and of course too, by it’s recycled water performance – that’s the way to go. I’ll just let Anthony say a word or two.

ALBANESE: I’m very please to be here with Kim in support of Labor’s Solar Schools Policy. We’d make every school look like this, 10,000 solar schools around the nation. Why would we concentrate on schools as a first step? Because in recycling, what it showed was that if you concentrate on the schools the young people go back to their families and pretty soon the message gets out amongst the broader community.

Can I also say that tomorrow, the Environment Minister, Senator Campbell will lead a delegation to China of Australian Renewable Energy Providers. That is a hypocritical act beyond belief. This is a Government that is shutting down our renewable energy industry. We’ve had the Bald Hill winds farm, a $220 million project in Victoria stopped. We’ve seen the Vestas factory, producing wind turbines in Northern Tasmania closed with the loss of 100 jobs. And the very company, Roaring Forties, which is based in Tasmania, which is opening a $300 million wind farm in China, announced after the Budget they would not proceed with two wind projects in South Australia and Tasmania, worth some $550 million. It is a tragedy that renewable energy is welcome in China but not welcome here.

The Environment Minister, on Friday night, on Lateline made the comment that these companies were taking advantage of the clean development mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol. The only way in which they can do that is to set up business off-shore with offices in Fiji or New Zealand or some other country that has ratified Kyoto. So, here you have the case that even Australian companies are not being allowed to stay in Australia if they want to take advantage of the emerging trillion dollar industry that is in renewables.

JOURNALIST: Mr Beazley, the Government is expected to increase drought support to around about $2 billion, is that enough in your mind?

BEAZLEY: We will support anything that relieves the farmers. This is a terrible drought afflicting us and it’s rolling in on top of another drought and the farmers must be feeling the pinch terribly now. All our sympathies are with them. This is a nation which rallies around the farmers in circumstances like this and we are right to do so – that is the immediate – that’s what has to be done now. And we will stand alongside the Government supporting all measures which are effective in dealing with the problem. But that’s the here and now. The long-term, if you want to resolve these sorts of issues, or to lessen their impact, we clearly have to take a stand on dealing with the issues of global warming. Because you cannot resolve the water crisis long-term in this country without resolving the global warming issue.

JOURNALIST: Turning around the whole renewable energy situation in Australia is going to cost a lot of money. How will you do that, will you simply increase the renewable energy targets?

BEAZLEY: I think the thing that’s interesting about this is it actually saves money. It actually saves money on the operation of this school for example, of the use of solar powered systems and of wind power and it’s been put in place here with the development of a new school and a lot of the State Governments now are looking at ensuring that the new schools are environmentally friendly schools with these capacities. We think that the issues can largely be resolved with what you might describe as market-based solutions, putting in place emissions trading. So, it’s not something that impacts extremely heavily on the expenditures of government. It does to a degree, but when you’ve got the whole community rallied in behind it and taking the steps themselves, you can go an awful long way without big budgetary impacts.

For photos of this event, click here

 

Oct 13, 2006

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Water Crisis, Climate Change

Transcript of Doorstop Interview, Marrickville Town Hall, Marrickville

13 October 2006

Subject: Australia’s water crisis, Climate Change

ANTHONY ALBANESE: The Howard Government has to move on from its policy of blame shifting and denial when it comes to the water crisis and climate change.

Unless we avoid dangerous climate change, then we will have a permanent water crisis.

What have we seen from the government? We see when it comes to urban water – a failure to give practical support for the projects which are being undertaken by state governments around the nation. When it comes to rural water issues – we have seen a refusal of the government to actually deliver on its rhetoric. The National Water Initiative provides a framework for water trading and establishing water markets, and in spite of Commonwealth commitments, not a single drop of water has actually been purchased by the government, on a voluntary basis and returned to flows, particularly in the Murray Darling Basin.

It is a fact, that in spite of government rhetoric, not a single drop of water has been returned to the Murray.

What we are seeing with the current extraordinary drought is a sign of what the future is under climate change unless we take action. We know that last year was the hottest year on record. We know that August 2006 was the hottest in more than 100 years, and we know that the Murray is the driest it has been in at least 100 years.

The Prime Minister and his colleagues are prepared to stand idly by as the cracks in the parched earth open up beneath them. It is simply not good enough. We need action from the Federal Government not just rhetoric, denial and blame shifting.

JOURNALIST: An audit today found that it is the States who are slow in their progress of actually trying to help the water crisis. This implies that the Federal government was not to blame. What do you have to say to that?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It was of course a Federal Government audit that was released by the Federal Government which once again goes to the issue of blame shifting. The Federal Government does have some responsibility. It has $2 billion in the Australian Water Fund that has been committed but not spent. It has a National Water Initiative that hasn’t resulted in the purchasing of any water. It has a Living Murray Program in which not a single drop has been returned to the Murray.

What we see from the Commonwealth is a failure to deliver on any practical projects, for example here in NSW. The Parliamentary Secretary for Water, Malcolm Turnbull, has been written to by the NSW Government, about the proposed $155 million dollar recycling project in western Sydney and yet he hasn’t responded. At the same time he has promoted the impractical issue of mining the Botany aquifer. This is an aquifer tainted by contaminants and therefore isn’t appropriate. It is also a proposal which would endanger through subsidence many thousands of homes in the region.

The Federal government has to actually get to the table and support practical projects.

In 2004 they were approached by the Queensland government to buy out Cubbie Farm, a drain on the Murray Darling Basin, and they refused to do so in spite of, to his credit, Senator Bill Heffernan urging from within their own ranks.

It is about time the Federal Government took some responsibility instead of just denial and blame shifting.

 

 

 

Oct 13, 2006

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Water Crisis, Climate Change

Transcript of Doorstop Interview, Marrickville Town Hall, Marrickville

13 October 2006

Subject: Australia’s water crisis, Climate Change

ANTHONY ALBANESE: The Howard Government has to move on from its policy of blame shifting and denial when it comes to the water crisis and climate change.

Unless we avoid dangerous climate change, then we will have a permanent water crisis.

What have we seen from the government? We see when it comes to urban water – a failure to give practical support for the projects which are being undertaken by state governments around the nation. When it comes to rural water issues – we have seen a refusal of the government to actually deliver on its rhetoric. The National Water Initiative provides a framework for water trading and establishing water markets, and in spite of Commonwealth commitments, not a single drop of water has actually been purchased by the government, on a voluntary basis and returned to flows, particularly in the Murray Darling Basin.

It is a fact, that in spite of government rhetoric, not a single drop of water has been returned to the Murray.

What we are seeing with the current extraordinary drought is a sign of what the future is under climate change unless we take action. We know that last year was the hottest year on record. We know that August 2006 was the hottest in more than 100 years, and we know that the Murray is the driest it has been in at least 100 years.

The Prime Minister and his colleagues are prepared to stand idly by as the cracks in the parched earth open up beneath them. It is simply not good enough. We need action from the Federal Government not just rhetoric, denial and blame shifting.

JOURNALIST: An audit today found that it is the States who are slow in their progress of actually trying to help the water crisis. This implies that the Federal government was not to blame. What do you have to say to that?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It was of course a Federal Government audit that was released by the Federal Government which once again goes to the issue of blame shifting. The Federal Government does have some responsibility. It has $2 billion in the Australian Water Fund that has been committed but not spent. It has a National Water Initiative that hasn’t resulted in the purchasing of any water. It has a Living Murray Program in which not a single drop has been returned to the Murray.

What we see from the Commonwealth is a failure to deliver on any practical projects, for example here in NSW. The Parliamentary Secretary for Water, Malcolm Turnbull, has been written to by the NSW Government, about the proposed $155 million dollar recycling project in western Sydney and yet he hasn’t responded. At the same time he has promoted the impractical issue of mining the Botany aquifer. This is an aquifer tainted by contaminants and therefore isn’t appropriate. It is also a proposal which would endanger through subsidence many thousands of homes in the region.

The Federal government has to actually get to the table and support practical projects.

In 2004 they were approached by the Queensland government to buy out Cubbie Farm, a drain on the Murray Darling Basin, and they refused to do so in spite of, to his credit, Senator Bill Heffernan urging from within their own ranks.

It is about time the Federal Government took some responsibility instead of just denial and blame shifting.

 

 

 

Oct 11, 2006

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Bulletin article, Turnbull, Water Issues

Transcript of Doorstop Interview, Parliament House, Canberra

11 October 2006

Subject: Bulletin article about Malcolm Turnbull, Water issues

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I want to talk about the Bob Carr article today in the Bulletin ‘Water on the Brain’ about Malcolm Turnbull. Malcolm Turnbull has used millions of words about water, but not a single drop has flowed into the Murray or into our urban water supplies as a result of any action he has taken as Parliamentary Secretary of Water.

If Malcolm Turnbull’s words were water we wouldn’t have a water crisis in this country.

Malcolm Turnbull has failed when it comes to water for our rural communities. He has failed because, in spite of announcing water trading six months ago, there hasn’t been a single voluntary acquisition of water by the Commonwealth. That is because the contract that has been given to people is some 75 pages long if they want to participate in this scheme.

When it comes to urban water, Malcolm Turnbull has failed to actually support the projects that have been put forward. Just one of those, a $155 million project in western Sydney, would recycle some 27 billion litres of grey water and yet we have seen no response from Malcolm Turnbull whatsoever to that. What we have had is that he has written to the NSW government with the proposal to mine the contaminated aquifer around Botany which would also place in danger, due to subsidence, many thousands of homes in that area – a completely impractical proposal.

So what I say to Malcolm Turnbull is that Federal Labor is quite prepared to stand hand in hand with the Government if it has practical proposals in urban water issues and in rural water issues, but he should join with Federal Labor’s proposal to return some 1,500 gigalitres into the Murray if we are going to breathe life into the Murray, end the political drought when it comes to action on water policy and on urban water, join Labor with our target for 30% recycling of wastewater by 2015.

JOURNALIST: What do you think the prospects are for the next six months?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It is very clear that whilst the government continues to ignore climate change then it is very hard to take them seriously on water.

What we need to do is have a serious debate about the impact that the prolonged decrease in rainfall particularly in southern Australia will have.

We need real practical responses to it – not on the one hand talk about care and talk about compensation, but without actually looking at what the source of the problem is and what the practical solutions are.

The Federal government had a proposal from the Queensland Government in 2004 to buy out Cubbie Station and to return many gigalitres to the Murray Darling system, and it failed and refused to participate in that. That was clearly a mistake.

ENDS

Oct 11, 2006

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Bulletin article, Turnbull, Water Issues

Transcript of Doorstop Interview, Parliament House, Canberra

11 October 2006

Subject: Bulletin article about Malcolm Turnbull, Water issues

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I want to talk about the Bob Carr article today in the Bulletin ‘Water on the Brain’ about Malcolm Turnbull. Malcolm Turnbull has used millions of words about water, but not a single drop has flowed into the Murray or into our urban water supplies as a result of any action he has taken as Parliamentary Secretary of Water.

If Malcolm Turnbull’s words were water we wouldn’t have a water crisis in this country.

Malcolm Turnbull has failed when it comes to water for our rural communities. He has failed because, in spite of announcing water trading six months ago, there hasn’t been a single voluntary acquisition of water by the Commonwealth. That is because the contract that has been given to people is some 75 pages long if they want to participate in this scheme.

When it comes to urban water, Malcolm Turnbull has failed to actually support the projects that have been put forward. Just one of those, a $155 million project in western Sydney, would recycle some 27 billion litres of grey water and yet we have seen no response from Malcolm Turnbull whatsoever to that. What we have had is that he has written to the NSW government with the proposal to mine the contaminated aquifer around Botany which would also place in danger, due to subsidence, many thousands of homes in that area – a completely impractical proposal.

So what I say to Malcolm Turnbull is that Federal Labor is quite prepared to stand hand in hand with the Government if it has practical proposals in urban water issues and in rural water issues, but he should join with Federal Labor’s proposal to return some 1,500 gigalitres into the Murray if we are going to breathe life into the Murray, end the political drought when it comes to action on water policy and on urban water, join Labor with our target for 30% recycling of wastewater by 2015.

JOURNALIST: What do you think the prospects are for the next six months?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It is very clear that whilst the government continues to ignore climate change then it is very hard to take them seriously on water.

What we need to do is have a serious debate about the impact that the prolonged decrease in rainfall particularly in southern Australia will have.

We need real practical responses to it – not on the one hand talk about care and talk about compensation, but without actually looking at what the source of the problem is and what the practical solutions are.

The Federal government had a proposal from the Queensland Government in 2004 to buy out Cubbie Station and to return many gigalitres to the Murray Darling system, and it failed and refused to participate in that. That was clearly a mistake.

ENDS

Sep 26, 2006

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Water Policy

Transcript of Doorstop Interview, Marrickville Town Hall, Marrickville

26 September 2006

Subject: Water Policy

ANTHONY ALBANESE: The announcement today that the government will be creating another level of bureaucracy when it come to water policy is a concern unless it actually it delivers real action on the ground.

What we have is a political drought when it comes to delivering from the Commonwealth government on water policy.

Australian’s need to hear the sound of water flowing, not just chairs shuffling. What we need is a plan to promote water supply in Australia, not just a plan to promote Malcolm Turnbull.

We have a number of layers already. We have the National Water Initiative. We have the NRM Program. We have the Natural Heritage Trust. We have the Living Murray Initiative. We have the Australian Water Commission. But what we haven’t seen is real results on the ground. In spite of government rhetoric, not a single drop has been returned to the Murray as a result of the Living Murray Initiative.

Australians won’t take the Howard Government seriously when it comes to water policy unless they have a plan to deliver on climate change. This is a government that refuses to acknowledge that climate change is the greatest challenge facing the global community. When it comes to water, climate change will result in a 30% drop in rainfall and a further 25% drop in run off, so unless they address that then they won’t be taken seriously. Action against climate change should be the priority of the Federal Government when it comes to water policy.

They also need practical measures which Labor has announced previously, such as returning 1500 gigalitres to the Murray and adopting a national target of 30% recycling for water by the year 2015. These are practical initiatives that Labor has announced and the government should follow Labor’s lead, just as they are now following Labor’s lead in terms of establishing some better co-ordination of water policy.

Kim Beazley announced some 18 months ago that I would be appointed as the Shadow Minister for Water, a cabinet level position, to show how seriously we take the issue of water and to make sure there is proper co-ordination.

A streamlining of bureaucracy is needed rather than the creation of extra levels. I call upon the government to streamline its programs, along with the announcement of this new office, to make sure that we have better delivery of results on the ground.

JOURNALIST: So the new office would work if other bodies set up to do the same thing were cut back?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Certainly I think that there is a real argument that if you are trying to engage with water management in Australia you have the NRM, the NWI, the NHT and the NAP. It will take you months to work out what all the acronyms are for, let alone understand the different structures for each of those bodies. Some are direct government bodies. Some are joint federal/state announced bodies. Some have local community participations based in terms of recommendations and each one of them creates a difficulty in terms of delivery. I can’t for instance see why there is a separate National Action Plan on Salinity and a separate National Heritage Trust. Surely what we need is to streamline some of these programs so we are better able to achieve results.

The failure of the government in this resolve is perhaps indicated by today’s announcement. After more than ten years they are announcing finally, after much agitation from Labor, particularly during this term of office, to get that co-ordination going. But surely they need, if they are going to be taken seriously, a Water Minister at the federal level.

ENDS

 

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Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

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