Wednesday, 4 August 2021
Questions without Notice
Climate Change, Energy
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 Liberal and National government is delivering a 'technology not taxes' approach to reduce Australia's carbon emissions while also securing our energy needs and making electricity more affordable?
Our government is absolutely committed to a technology-led approach to reducing emissions and securing affordable and reliable energy for Australian households and business. We know that those opposite believe that taxes are always the answer, but we don't agree. We have a different approach, and I'm pleased to advise the Senate that our approach is working.
An honourable senator interjecting—
I'm hearing from George again. It's hard to hear him, though, through the mask, so I'll do my best to push on. Australia's emissions are now lower than in any year under the previous Labor government. They are at the lowest level since 1990. We've reduced emissions by 20 per cent on 2005 levels, and we're on track to meet and beat our 2030 commitments. Emissions in the NEM have fallen to their lowest level since records began, and our 'technology not taxes' approach saw a record seven gigs of new renewable capacity installed last year alone. Australia now has the highest total amount of solar PV capacity per person in the world. Of course, we still have no idea what Labor's 2030 emissions target is; we just know that, whatever the problem, taxes are always Labor's solution. It is in their DNA.
On this side, we understand that, to continue to drive down emissions while securing our economy from the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to tap into the expertise of agencies that we already have, such as ARENA, to support Australian innovation. That's why we introduced updated ARENA regulations after the Labor-Greens coalition voted against investment in clean and low-emissions technology. We will enable ARENA to invest in the five priority low-emissions technologies identified in the Technology investment roadmap: clean hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, long-duration storage, green steel and aluminium, and healthy soils. These, and the 1,400 jobs that would come with them, are all things, it seems, that the Labor Party and the Greens are against. We have a very different approach, and it is in stark display— (Time expired)
We know that it's technology and not taxes that will drive down emissions while at the same time creating jobs and ensuring we have the affordable, reliable energy we need. That's why we've introduced these new ARENA regulations, which will enable more investment in the technologies that have been identified in the investment road map. They are the technologies we need to ensure reliable and dispatchable power, yet Labor and the Greens want to block these investments in clean energy technology and the jobs they create. It's hard to comprehend, but it is happening. So perhaps it's time for the Leader of the Opposition, instead of sneaking into coalmines in Queensland, to take the advice of the member for Hunter, who last week said:
Labor should just back whatever the government puts on the table. To do otherwise is to suggest we are not genuinely committed to action on climate change …
The member for Hunter is right and the Leader of the Opposition is wrong. Labor doesn't support technology, because they simply want more— (Time expired)
There are serious risks to our 'technology not taxes' plan to deliver more affordable and reliable energy for all Australians while, at the same time, reducing emissions, and most of them are over there on the other side of the chamber. By teaming up with the Greens to block ARENA's expansion, Labor is saying no to investment in the same low-emissions technologies they claim to support. They voted for higher emissions, fewer jobs and less funding for ARENA, and apparently will do so again unless common sense prevails. The Labor Party don't know where they stand on technology, but we all know exactly where they stand on taxes. Taxes are Labor's track record.
Of course, the member for McMahon, when he was in government, increased the carbon tax. It wasn't high enough. He increased it. We all remember his housing tax, his car tax and his retiree tax. The choice is clear: there are only two ways to reduce emissions, and if it isn't technology it's taxes.