Oct 19, 2007

Transcript of media conference, Currumbin Surf Life Saving Club

Transcript of media conference, Currumbin Surf Life Saving Club, 741 Pacific Parade, Currumbin Beach, Gold Coast, Queensland

Anthony Albanese MP – Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Water

Eddie Sarroff – Labor Candidate for McPherson

Friday 19 October 2007


Subject: 100th Anniversary of Surf Life Saving Clubs, grants of $10,000 for Surf Life Saving Clubs for installation of rainwater tanks and water saving devices, Climate Change and the water crisis, Nuclear Power, Polls, Eddie Sarroff and the seat of McPherson

EDDIE SARROFF: We are here today to, in the first instance, sign this pledge for no nuclear facility, and secondly to make an announcement for a water saving initiative, which will be great news for the Gold Coast. I will now hand over to Anthony to make that announcement.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks very much Eddie and Senator Joe Ludwig, my parliamentary colleague, the Shadow Attorney General, who is here as well today.

Today is the 100th anniversary of Surf Life Saving Clubs in Australia. Surf Life Saving Clubs play a critical role in the culture of Australia. They are iconic, and particularly so on the Gold Coast. Over those 100 years, more than half a million lives have been saved by our lifesavers. The community respects them and wants to give something back to them.

On behalf of Kevin Rudd and Labor, I am here today to announce that a Rudd Labor Government will give grants of up to $10,000 for each and every one of the 305 Surf Lifesaving Clubs in Australia, to install a water tank or other water saving devices. This is to coincide with the 100th anniversary of lifesaving clubs in Australia.

We know that Surf Life Saving Clubs are great water users. They use it for showers, they use it to wash the salt and sand off surf rescue equipment and they use it in the surrounding areas where the clubs are located. We know that tens of thousands of Australians volunteer to give up their time for surf lifesaving here in Australia.

There is no better place to have an initiative relating to climate change and water than Surf Life Saving Clubs, because our coast will be particularly affected by climate change. Surf Life Saving Clubs will witness a change in their surrounds, as we see rising sea levels, and they see the need for us to adapt to climate change.

This is a practical initiative which will assist not just the Surf Lifesaving Clubs. It will once again put them at the forefront of the leadership that they provide in the community. The community will see that these water saving devices are practical, and they are important, and will provide a leadership role for other community organisations, and indeed, for individuals to take action on climate change and the water crisis.

We know that water is a precious resource. We know that most Surf Life Saving Clubs have substantial roof space. We want that roof space to be a collector of water, in order to save water in a very practical way. We think that this is a fitting way to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Surf Lifesaving Clubs in Australia, particularly as we know that people associated with Surf Lifesaving understand how precious our natural environment is and how precious water is.

This is a very positive initiative and there is nowhere better to announce it than here with Eddie Sarroff on the Gold Coast, one of the iconic surfing areas of Australia.

JOURNALIST: Mr Albanese, why water saving devices, why not more funding for surf skis or things like that?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: The positive thing about water saving devices is that they will be in perpetuity. They will last for a long time. We need to adjust to the fact that we will have lower rainfall, particularly in southern Australia. This is a practical initiative, right around the coast, particularly here in Queensland and northern NSW.

The 305 Surf Lifesaving Clubs do a great deal for our community and this is an important announcement on behalf of a Rudd Labor government to say that we value the work that Surf Lifesaving Clubs do. We know that clubs such as the one here at Currumbin have been looking at putting in water saving devices and water tanks. What we are saying to them is that we will give you the support to make sure that can become a reality.

JOURNALIST: Is $10,000 enough? These guys could collect a lot of water.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: $10,000 will give you a substantial water tank and substantial piping to make sure that you can actually make a real difference. It is a practical initiative, fully costed, and we see it as part of our coastal policy that we have been working on this year. We have timed it for the 100th anniversary of Surf Life Saving Clubs because we think today it is important that we as a nation say thank you to the fantastic work that surf lifesavers have done over the last century and will do in the century to come.

JOURNALIST: Your nuclear policy is one of the major differences to the coalition [inaudible] ?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: This election is about the future. A Rudd Labor Government has plans to meet future challenges. There is no greater challenge than addressing climate change and the water crisis. The solution to climate change and the water crisis is to make sure we are part of a global effort by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol and other big measures such as increasing our renewable energy target but also by supporting practical measures, whether they are by Surf Life Saving Clubs or individuals in their homes. Our measures in homes and in community organisations will make a difference.

What we don’t need as a solution to climate change is to go down the nuclear road. That is last century’s technology. This election is about a Rudd Labor Party that has plans for the future, and a stale Howard Government that is all about the past and not capable of addressing those challenges, particularly of climate change. The government is dominated by climate change sceptics. If you don’t think climate change exists, you can’t bite the bullet and address climate change. It is interesting that the greatest advocates of nuclear reactors for Australia, John Howard and Ian McFarlane, have been precisely the same people who don’t believe in climate change.

JOURNALIST: On the polls, the coalition seems to be gaining now? What are your thoughts on today’s polls?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Labor has always said that this election will be close. We fully expect it to be tight right up to the 24th of November. We have said that all year. We face a mammoth task to win the 16 seats that we need to form a Rudd Labor Government. Labor has only formed a government from opposition twice since the Second World War so we fully expect this to be a tight election campaign. That’s why we are working each and every day between now and the 24th of November to make sure that Australians know that Labor and Kevin Rudd have plans for the future and that the Howard Government’s best days are long, long gone. They are stale, they are out of ideas, they are out of touch and they are out of time.

JOURNALIST: How hard will it be for Eddie Sarroff to win here against Margaret May who has been here for so long and has done so well?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: The question is what has she done? The problem for the Gold Coast is that the Howard Government has taken it for granted. They haven’t done what they should do which is stand up in the Parliament and speak out on behalf of the Gold Coast. We know that in Eddie here we have a champion for the Gold Coast. We have someone who has been advocating the need for infrastructure on the Gold Coast. We’ve got someone who’s been planning to address the issues of climate change and water. That’s why we are here today making this very significant announcement in the Electorate of McPherson, because we know that the people of the Gold Coast are warming to Eddie, they know him, they know the representation that he has made as a Councillor and they know he is a good advocate. They know that they have been taken for granted for the 12 years the Howard Government has been in office. It has dominated the seats on the Gold Coast and then done very little for this area.

We think it is about time that the Gold Coast had a champion and that champion will be Eddie Sarroff. He will be a strong voice in a Rudd Labor Government.

JOURNALIST: All up, how much will it cost to put in water tanks and water saving devices in all surf clubs around Australia?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: We have committed $3 million to this program. It comes on top of the other water policies that we have – a $500 rebate for rainwater tanks and greywater piping for households on top of existing subsidies from state and local authorities; our $10,000 zero real interest loan scheme for houses to become water and energy efficient; our plan for 30% of wastewater to be recycled by 2015; our support for projects such as the western corridor recycling scheme which are important components of the South-East Queensland water grid. The Howard Government didn’t mention water as an issue until it came to an election year. And until last year I was the Water Shadow Minister without anyone to Shadow, because the Howard Government didn’t even bother to have a Water Minister.

JOURNALIST: Eddie, there are obviously a lot of people involved in the Surf Life Saving Club here. What does an announcement like this mean for the community?

EDDIE SARROFF: The announcement will be very welcome. Gold Coast City Council has supported the surf clubs over a long period of time. I am quite involved with surf clubs. I am the vice-president of several of the surf clubs and I know how hard they work to try and make sure they are giving the service that we deserve on the beach. These $10,000 grants will be most welcome. I am aware that a number of surf clubs don’t have these tanks and it is an incentive for those tanks to go in. It will save them money and it is great for our environment.

JOURNALIST: How hard is it going to be to beat Margaret May?

EDDIE SARROFF: I am certainly not taking this election for granted. I have a huge task ahead of me. The bottom line is I am putting myself forward as a strong voice. I believe the Gold Coast has been neglected for too long. I am aware of the issues and I’m putting those issues forward. I think the community needs to have a look at what the two parties have to offer and then the community will make their assessment based on how the Gold Coast has performed in terms of specific funding from the current government, and I am hoping that the community will also judge me on my performance over the last 13 years on Council.

JOURNALIST: The environment is an important issues [inaudible]… ?

EDDIE SARROFF: Look, the Gold Coast is a sensitive area. We have flood prone areas. We have a beautiful coastal strip. It is an important issue. It is not just an issue for the Gold Coast, but is an important issue Australia wide.