Wednesday, 23 June 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Senator Seselja. Can the minister update the Senate on how the Morrison government's 'technology, not taxes' approach to emissions reduction is helping Australia not only meet but exceed our international obligations whilst standing up for Australia and supporting our economy without costing Australian jobs, costing the Australian industry and threatening Australia's energy security?
Thank you very much, Senator Small. Yes, I can. The Morrison government is taking practical action to reduce emissions through technology, not taxes, and our plan is working. I know that Labor and the Greens don't like to hear these facts, but emissions are now at the lowest level since records began in 1990—more than 20 per cent below 2005 levels. We are reducing them at about double the rate of the average across the OECD, and we'll absolutely meet and beat our 2030 Paris target. To keep this momentum going, we will invest $20 billion in new energy technologies by 2030, unlocking some $80 billion of public and private investment over the decade.
Our Technology Investment Roadmap is about supporting a portfolio of technologies so that we can reduce emissions across every sector of the economy, so that we can create at least 160,000 jobs by 2030, so that we can deliver the cheap and reliable energy Australians deserve, so that we can keep the lights on without sending jobs offshore and so that we can secure Australia's future.
But, just last night in this place, we saw firsthand the very real danger that those opposite, Labor and the Greens, would provide if they were ever back on the government benches. They voted against $192 million of investment in lower emissions technology, significant reforms that would have seen even lower emissions and created thousands of new jobs. Even the member for Hunter described Labor's decision last night as ideological craziness. In fact, he has said that, sadly, the hard Left—the 'excessive progressives', as I call them—are just on an ideological bender. Senator McAllister, we know that you fit very much in that camp. The excessive progressives are in charge. It's all about dogma and ideology rather than the policies that work—bringing down emissions, growing jobs and securing our future.
Can the minister outline why this 'technology, not taxes' approach is important to supporting jobs in my home state of Western Australia but is particularly important in reducing emissions in intensive industries like manufacturing, agriculture, transport and resources?
Senator Small is right. These sectors keep the Western Australian economy moving. Critical to supporting jobs in these sectors is supporting the technology that allows them to offset or abate their emissions. Our changes to ARENA's mandate would have provided $192.5 million in new funding to back technologies like healthy soils, carbon capture and storage, reduced emissions for aluminium and steel, energy efficiency and clean hydrogen. One in 10 Western Australian jobs are in the mining industry. This makes the development of carbon capture and storage technology vital for WA. Yet those opposite voted against it. I know that 'each-way Albo' is heading to WA. He is heading to WA next week to hold a shadow cabinet meeting. This will be the test for him: will he be honest with the people of WA and the Pilbara and outline his plan to tax his way to net zero emissions and the impacts of that on the WA and Australian economies?
We saw, last night, some of those risks, with all those Labor senators voting with their Greens coalition partners to block a technology led approach to reducing emissions. They voted against their own policy platform. They voted to rip up $192 million of new funding for ARENA programs, which would have created 1,400 jobs. When it comes to reducing emissions, if it's not technology, it has to be taxes. They've shown which side they're on. They've stolen Jeremy Corbyn's slogan, and they've stolen some of his high-taxing policies. Taxes are in Labor's DNA. They are absolutely reckless. They've abandoned the 2.2 million Australians working in energy-intensive industries. They've sent a clear message to Western Australian families and families around Australia that Labor will always put politics above people and ideology above jobs.