Subjects: 2018 Australasia Bus Conference; IPCC Report; Climate Change; Great Barrier Reef.
KIER SHOREY: In my report yesterday we spoke to the Executive Director of the Bus Conference. The Australasian Bus Confederation, which are having their major Conference in town right now, which includes people from across the ditch in New Zealand as well. And that has acted as a magnet for a number of politicians to come into Cairns including my guest this morning, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities, Regional Development and Tourism, Anthony Albanese. Mr Albanese, good morning.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning. Thanks for having me on the program.
SHOREY: Not a problem at all. So about to jump on the plane to head here for the conference – what’s your message that you’re bringing to the delegates today?
ALBANESE: Well, one of respect for the amazing job that the bus industry do in getting people around our cities and our towns; in supporting the tourism sector; importantly, in supporting the manufacturing sector. We are a major manufacturer of buses. Everyone knows that the car industry, the private motor vehicle industry shut down, unfortunately, in recent years. But we are still a major manufacturer of buses in particular and that’s an important employment generator.
SHOREY: Indeed. And we did talk yesterday with Michael Apps from the Confederation about the fact that the humble bus has kind of evolved a little bit in terms of just how it is such an important part of transport infrastructure around the country. And they’re almost kind of invisible to us, because we see them so frequently and that’s particularly true in a place like Cairns when it comes to the tourism industry.
ALBANESE: That’s right. Look, there’s 43,000 people working as bus and coach drivers. That’s quite an extraordinary figure, and of course for regional cities like Cairns, that are very much reliant upon tourism. People when they get off the plane at Cairns Airport, if they are going up to Port Douglas, chances are they’ll get on a bus to do it. When they’re going out to the reef, chances are they’ll get picked up at their hotel in a bus and take it to the port, either at Cairns or at Port Douglas. If they’re going out doing any of the other activities, everything from skydiving to whitewater rafting, they’ll be in a bus. So the bus industry is absolutely critical for the tourism sector. And I’m sure that’s one of the reasons why the leadership of the Confederation chose Cairns as their destination.
SHOREY: Anthony Albanese with us this morning here on ABC Far North, ahead of arriving in Cairns today for this conference that’s taking place. What else on the agenda, Mr Albanese? Any announcements in the air?
ALBANESE: No, but I will be having a range of meetings today – including with the Mossman Mill. People are having a discussion. They met with Kim Carr last week. We want to make sure that industries like that are able to continue. I’ll be having various other meetings with Elida Faith, our fantastic candidate for Leichhardt. I’ve got an event tonight. I’m catching up with Mark Bailey the State Minister around about the time just after I give my speech. There are other meetings as well have been scheduled this afternoon. It’ll be a busy time, but it will be a productive time. Visiting Cairns is always good. You always get a good welcome. It’s a great city, and of course, visitors to Cairns is one of the factors that helps drive the local economy.
SHOREY: Anthony Albanese the IPCC report that’s come out in the last 24 hours talking about the idea that we need to transition to a zero per cent fossil fuel. As in 100 per cent renewables by 2050. Now I know the Labor policy currently is 50 per cent at least by 2030 – 45 per cent reduction in emissions. What’s your reaction and response to the IPCC report?
ALBANESE: This is a very serious report. It’s by some of the world’s pre-eminent climate scientists and we need to start listening to the science and less to the sceptics, and we need to act. Obviously, the sooner we act – not just Australia alone, but as part of a global action that ensures that our economy can continue to function, our environment can continue to function. And there’s nowhere where the link between the two is more clear than with the Great Barrier Reef, an amazing environmental asset for Queensland and for our nation. But one of course that if we have two degrees of warming or more, then it will be under threat, which is why then, there will be consequences for employment. All those jobs that rely upon the Great Barrier Reef, let alone of course, just the moral responsibility I think we have to act today in the interests of our kids and our grandkids and future generations.
SHOREY: So will the report have an effect on Labor climate change policy?
ALBANESE: I think it’ll have an impact on the world. I would hope that it would have an impact on the Government as well, and that the sensible voices in the Government understand that we can’t just ignore science and dismiss it; that the world isn’t flat; that there is an overwhelming consensus amongst scientists that climate change is happening and that human activity is having an impact on the climate. And you know we can see with the increased number of extreme weather events around the world that that’s impacting. Now that’s not to say that you can point to any individual event and say that is because of climate change, because there always have been events. But what you need to do is look at trends and the trends show that the world is getting hotter, that the extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more intense. And so all the warning signs are there and the science backs that up and we need to listen to the scientists.
SHOREY: Anthony Albanese, I’ll let you catch your plane.
ALBANESE: Thanks very much for having me on.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.