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