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Transcript 17997

Transcript of doorstop interview, Melbourne

Photo of Gillard, Julia

Gillard, Julia

Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013

More information about Gillard, Julia on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 12/07/2011

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 17997

PM: Can I say it's a great pleasure to be here with my Caucus colleague Kelvin Thomson, the Member for Wills, we're in his electorate and can I thank Earl and Scott and Ken for sharing their stories with us here and can I thank all of the apprentices and young people I've met as I've walked through this fantastic facility.

We, of course, are here talking about the effect of putting a price on carbon and in the last few days I've been explaining that it will be around 500 big polluters who pay that price for putting carbon pollution into our atmosphere.

And over the last few days people have said to me well, how can they change their behaviour so that they can cut the amount of carbon pollution that they generate, how will this lead to the reductions of at least 160 million tonnes of carbon pollution in 2020?

Well, walking around this great facility I think you can start to see the amazing changes that can be made and the new technologies that will be brought to greater life by putting a price on carbon.

I mean, who would have thought that here in suburban Australia, we are in Melbourne, we are not that far from the centre of the city, that you could be generating heat through geothermal. Not out in a desert in remote Australia, but right here in this building, generating heat through the geothermal power of the earth itself, not needing to have electricity generated any other way.

That small insight into new technology that is available today, but can be turbo-charged by putting a price on carbon, I think helps us think about the sorts of changes that our big polluters can make as a result of putting a price on carbon.

But clearly, when we have priced carbon, right around the nation people will be thinking about cleaner energy choices. We will see an explosion in the development of clean energy technologies and it's been great to be here today to talk to the people who will have the skills to deliver those technologies to us.

I've met young apprentices who are learning the green skills that they will need for the future. I've met people who have been a plumber for 20-25 years, who were here for a refresher course. Great opportunities in the new green skills, in plumbing and in trades right across the board, whether it's being an electrician, or being a welder, what people do today will be done differently in the future in a clean energy way.

And then we will see new jobs created as well, not only will we do traditional jobs differently, we will see new jobs created, as we see this explosion in a clean energy future.

It's been fantastic to be here today and to see the possibilities that carbon pricing can lead to. Carbon pricing will create the right incentives to drive the take up of clean energy.

Can I also say - acknowledging Michael Long - who is with us today, another thing that's really impressed me, apart from the technology and the new skills, is the sense of opportunity that the people training here have, including the young Indigenous Australians who are training here.

A great future, with the skills they will need for today and tomorrow's technology and the skills they will need so our nation can seize a clean energy future.

So, thank you very much for having me here and I'm very happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, what about the workers in Hazelwood and their families who now face an uncertain future, what do you say to them and can you tell them if Hazelwood power station will definitely close under this package?

PM: The package we announced on Sunday has funding to retire 2000 megawatts of the dirtiest energy that the nation produces. We will have a tender process, we will get power stations to come forward to work with us in retiring 2000 megawatts of dirty energy production. Of course in doing that we will work carefully to make sure that the lights stay on and we've got energy security and energy supply and we will, of course, work with affected communities.

My Ministerial colleague, Martin Ferguson, has been talking about working with communities to replace current dirty coal-fire powered generators with cleaner gas electricity generation. We'll be happy to keep speaking to and working with communities. Overall, for the employment picture for the future, we will cut carbon pollution by putting a price on carbon that big polluters pay. We will generate 1.6 million jobs by 2020, half a million of them in the next two years.

We have an unemployment rate with a four in front of it, we will continue to see employment grow. And just generally on the question of employment, there's been a lot of anxiety caused and a lot of fear has been around, but let's just go through some of the truths that I think help people recognise the fears that have been raised unnecessarily.

Tony Abbott yesterday stood at a Peabody Mine, a coal mine, and said basically coal mining didn't have a future in our country. Today we wake up to newspapers that say that very company is poised to engage in the biggest coal company takeover our nation has ever seen. Now they're doing that because they know there's a great future in coalmining in this country.

So, fear raised unnecessarily. Tony Abbott was predicting Armageddon for the coal mining industry yesterday - the future of the coal mining industry is bright.

And it's not the first thing he's got wrong.

He said to Australians they'd be paying 6.5c more a litre for their petrol. Wrong.

He said to Australians yesterday that coal mining would end in this country. Wrong.

Coal mining has got a great future and it will continue to grow. He said to the people of Whyalla that their town would be wiped off the map. Today he's acknowledged that's wrong, because we're working with the steel industry as we price carbon.

Petrol fear campaign. Wrong.

Coal mining fear campaign. Wrong.

Steel industry fear campaign. Wrong.

JOURNALIST: Ms Gillard, Tony Abbott also he is staking his political career on stopping the carbon tax. Are you staking your political career on implementing it?

PM: As Prime Minister, what I am doing is leading this nation to a clean energy future. We have to realise the possibilities of new technology, it's about jobs, it's about skills. We've seen that today and it's about doing the right thing by our environment.

Australians think climate change is real, and they're right, the scientists have told us it's real. They know it's caused by carbon pollution that we generate as human beings and they want us to cut carbon pollution. Well we will do that by putting a price on carbon, as our economy continues to grow strongly, as jobs continue to grow strongly and as we provide assistance to nine out of ten households. We can realise this clean energy future while still getting the benefits and jobs that come with economic growth. That's what I'm leading on and that's what I'm going to achieve.

JOURNALIST: Is your job at risk though, given the latest opinion polling and the opposition to the carbon tax opinion polling?

PM: Look, my focus as Prime Minister is on driving a clean energy future and today's opinion polls will be forgotten in this sweep of history. What will be remembered is when we seize the opportunity to create a clean energy future and to cut carbon pollution. When we seize the opportunity to do the right thing by Australia's kids today and the kids that they will have in the future, to create the conditions we need to protect our environment to have the clean energy jobs of the future, that's what I'm focussed on.

JOURNALIST: You were asking the apprentices downstairs for an assessment of their teacher, but how many voters are going to assess (inaudible)?

PM: I think the people look to leaders to lead. I'm leading this nation to a clean energy future.

JOURNALIST: Why do you think the carbon tax is so unpopular?

PM: This is a big reform and the reality is when our nation has faced up to big reforms in the past, we found it pretty hard, but it was the right thing to do. We wouldn't be living in a prosperous country today if we hadn't taken big decisions, globalising our economy, floating the dollar, cutting tariffs - big decisions, not popular at the time and they are the authors of today's prosperity. Well today we need, as a nation, to face up to another big decision - cutting carbon pollution and addressing climate change. We're going to get this done, starts on 1 July next year.

JOURNALIST: Are you disappointed in Australians, with their reaction?

PM: I'll keep explaining this big reform and I'm not at all surprised that when a big reform is talked about, that people feel a sense of anxiety, that's understandable. People-

JOURNALIST: Are you disappointed? PM: No, people feel anxious about change, absolutely understandable. I'll keep explaining this change and the possibilities of a clean energy future - the new jobs, the new skills, the economic growth, and a better environment.

JOURNALIST: Will you explain the change in a public debate with Tony Abbott?

PM: Will I?

JOURNALIST: Public debate?

PM: There'll be any number of debates when Parliament gets back together and we put this legislation through the Australian Parliament. And let's be absolutely clear here, our nation has been debating tackling climate change and putting a price on carbon pollution for around a decade. Prime Minister Howard went to the 2007 election saying he wanted to put a price on carbon pollution. I went to the 2010 election saying I wanted to cap carbon pollution, put a price on it through an emissions trading scheme. Well we will get to that emissions trading scheme, following three years of a fixed price, effectively a carbon tax. We've talked about this a lot, now's the time to get it done and I'm going to get it done.

JOURNALIST: Will charity groups like the Flying Doctors be exempt from the tax?

PM: Thank you for raising that. The Flying Doctor does amazing work, and because the Royal Flying Doctor Service does such amazing work, we've been very pleased and proud as a government to work with them and to fund and support the work that they do.

In the package I announced on Sunday there is a dedicated fund to assist not for profit organisations, as we make the change to pricing carbon. For the Royal Flying Doctor Service, of course we will work with them to deal with any impact that they feel from pricing carbon. We'll be very pleased to continue working with them and providing the support that they need.

JOURNALIST: So they are not exempt?

PM: The Royal Flying Doctor Service, like other not for profits may feel some impacts from pricing carbon, that's why we've got the dedicated fund for not for profits, but if the Royal Flying Doctor Service needs further direct assistance then we will provide it.

JOURNALIST: Back on Hazelwood, are you guaranteeing that Hazelwood won't close until there's something which can generate that extra power and will that construction delay the closure of Hazelwood (inaudible)?

PM: Look, we are going to have a tender process here. So I'm not in a position to talk about particular power stations because that would be me prejudging the tender.

But what I can say to you, about the outcomes of the tender, is any change will be done in a measured way, so that we have continuity of electricity supply, so the lights stay on. We'll work with the regulators to make sure this has got absolutely right, so it will take some time and I direct you to our Ministerial colleague's words, Martin Ferguson, we'll obviously be working to replace capacity in dirty coal-fired power stations with cleaner energy sources like gas.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible) already for organisations, which are (inaudible) are they guaranteed funding from the carbon tax revenue?

PM: Well, where they carbon tax funding is going is, before your eyes, in the package that I've released on Sunday.

So, the money that the big polluters pay for putting carbon pollution in our atmosphere will go to funding the assistance to households; more than half the money will be used for that purpose, will go to work with industries, so we can support Australian jobs, and to fund programs to tackle climate change and the programs are outlined in Sunday's package.

I think you're probably referring to a number of organisations that are funded from other parts of the Federal budget, skills money and the like. So, obviously we can talk to you about the specifics of the individual organisations.

JOURNALIST: What kind of impacts will the carbon tax and your plan have on reducing global temperature? What is (inaudible)?

PM: The impact of pricing carbon in this country is we will reduce carbon pollution in 2020 by at least 160 million tonnes, so the equivalent of taking 45 million cars off the road. There are around 12 million cars in this country today. Ask people to try and get a picture of how many cars 45 million is, we will be taking that amount of carbon pollution out of our atmosphere and we can take this carbon pollution out of our atmosphere as we continue to have a strongly growing economy, growing jobs and we assist nine out of ten households.

And if I can just say on the question of household assistance, we have obviously directed household assistance so we will be supplying to pensioners, who live on say the full old age pension, more in their pension than we expect the impact of the flow through of carbon pricing to be on them. We will be giving them extra money.

Now I do note that Tony Abbott was asked on television this morning whether he'd guarantee to let pensioners keep that money and he didn't give that guarantee. He's obviously looking to take money off Australian pensioners. Thank you very much.

JOURNALIST: What about a temperature though, what about how is- PM:-The question - I've answered this question a number of time and I'm happy to answer it again. The question doesn't make any sense, because is assumes the rest of the world isn't acting. The rest of the world is acting, we've got to keep pace. Thanks very much.

Transcript 17997