Aug 20, 2007

Transcript of doorstop: Labor’s anti nuclear pledge in Gladstone

Transcript of doorstop interview – Spinaker Park, Gladstone

Monday, 20 August 2007


Subject: Labor’s anti nuclear pledge in Gladstone

ALBANESE: I’m very pleased to be here today with Chris Trevor, the Labor candidate for Flynn, to sign the first of Labor candidates’ anti nuclear pledge. We know that John Howard wants to impose 25 nuclear reactors around the coastlines of Australia. We know that those nuclear reactors have to be located near towns and cities, near the electricity grid and, because nuclear reactors use 80% more water than any other energy source, we know that they’ll also be near water.

Gladstone has been selected as a prime site for a nuclear reactor by the Pacific Nuclear Council. It’s also been identified by the Australia Institute earlier this year as a prime location for a nuclear reactor. Labor believes that nuclear power has no part in Australia’s energy future. Labor believes we need to support clean coal technology because we have 300 years supply of coal. Clean coal technology is important not just for our domestic energy production, but also for our export potential. We also have an abundance of sun, wind and other renewable sources in this country. Australians want renewables, not reactors.

If you listen to the National Party over the last 24 hours, they would argue that you can have these 25 nuclear reactors, but they won’t actually be located anywhere. They think you can have virtual nuclear reactors. They’re saying that because they know that Australian public doesn’t want nuclear reactors in their local communities and they don’t want the high level toxic nuclear waste dumps that are associated with those reactors. It’s time Mr Howard came clean. John Howard before the last election didn’t tell the Australian public about Workchoices and this time round he’s not telling the Australian public about where his 25 nuclear reactors will be located.

Chris Trevor: I’d like to just echo the sentiments of Anthony, as I move out into Gladstone I’m hearing something very loud and clear. That issue is that people do not want nuclear energy in Gladstone. They are frightened of it, they are concerned about the safety aspects of it and environmentally it is a major concern for them.

People might say that this is a scare campaign. What I want to say in relation to that is this: they need to be scared, we need a clear and unequivocal indication from John Howard that he is not going to bring nuclear power to Gladstone and until that’s happened I will continue to campaign against nuclear facilities, against nuclear waste in Gladstone. We have an unending supply of coal, we have a policy in place in relation to clean coal technology and there is no reason why we should bring a dangerous substance or a dangerous nuclear reactor to Gladstone.

JOURNALIST: What is Labor committed to on renewable energy?

ALBANESE: Labor has committed to substantially increasing the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target. We will also have a number of programs to promote renewable energy in households. We’ll have a $10,000 zero real interest loan scheme, which will encourage energy efficiency and water efficiency in Australian households. We’ll also support the national emissions trading scheme which will make renewable energy competitive with other forms of energy production.

We are also strongly committed to supporting innovation and research. We believe the CSIRO has a critical role as a world class scientific organisation in promoting Australian innovation and we need to make sure that we then commercialise that innovation. Here in Australia some 10 years ago, when John Howard came to office, Australia represented 10% of solar energy throughout the world, now we are down to under 2%. That is a tragedy that has occurred on John Howard’s watch.

JOURNALIST: Where are we at on Clean Coal technology?

ALBANESE: Labor supports Clean Coal Technology. We think it is vital for our continued domestic consumption, but we also think it is vital for our export potential. The world is negotiating the post 2012 Kyoto protocol regime. Clean coal technology will be vital for export if we are to ensure that world emissions are decreased. There are a number of pilot projects occurring right here in Australia now. It is very exciting in its potential. Labor is absolutely committed to clean coal technology being a priority for the Australian Government.

JOURNALIST: How far away are …(inaudible)

ALBANESE: Well there pilot projects operating right now. There is a pilot project operating in Victoria through the CRC the cooperative research centre there. We also have a number of projects on the ball with regard to clean coal technology here in Queensland and in NSW. It is a matter of a small number of years away. We think it is important that Government provides support for that innovation. It is also important that coal companies and energy companies do their bit as well to support that technology.

JOURNALIST: …behind the 8 ball when it comes to nuclear power and technology…. (Inaudible)

ALBANESE: The thing about nuclear power is that there hasn’t been a nuclear reactor commissioned in the United States since the Chernobyl accident. There hasn’t been a nuclear reactor come online in Western Europe since the Chernobyl accident. Why is that occurring, because there remain outstanding problems with nuclear reactors, in terms of its economic viability, as well as issues of waste disposal and safety and environmental issues. Here in Australia it’s the abundance of coal that we have, at least 300 years of reserves and given the potential that we have for renewable energy it simply does not make sense for us to go down the nuclear road. John Howard has committed to his nuclear fantasy. He is committed ideologically to imposing this on the Australian community.