Wednesday, 7 September 2022
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Senator Wong. Would the minister please explain to the Australian people and me what 'net-zero emissions' actually means, in layman's terms?
I'm not sure how to explain it, other than to say it means net zero. I understand that the senator—it's one of those situations. I will think through if I can provide an explanation that makes it clearer than that, but to me the words 'net zero' are quite clear. I think we all understand what 'net emissions' means. I am reminded of a time when I was climate minister and I think Senator Fielding wanted an explanation, and I got in the Chief Scientist to try and take him through it, and we did get to a point where I thought, 'I don't actually know'—and neither did she at that time—'how to break it down any further.' But I will have a think about that. I think it's a commonly understood objective, and it's an objective, as the senator knows, that is shared by those opposite, I thought—maybe not.
Well, obviously not by Senator Canavan. I know that. But the coalition, I thought, broadly had agreed to net-zero emissions by 2050. Maybe Senator Canavan is indicating a change of policy under the coalition, under Mr Dutton. Obviously, I think it's 84 per cent—I could be wrong—of Australia's export markets have already signed up to the same target. It was discussed at the G20, so there's broad global agreement about the need to—
Madam President, on relevance. The question was clearly about the definition of a term—it's a very a simple question—and now we're talking about what other countries are doing and signing up to. It's got nothing to do with the original question.
Actually, I'm gobsmacked from the first answer. I don't know whether I should actually ask a second one—now you've got me! All right, then: how much will the government policy to reduce emissions by 43 per cent—and you don't know what net zero is anyway—by 2030, I would really like to know how much it's going to cost the government by 2050. But I doubt I'm going to get an answer on the first one. If you can answer my question: how much is it going to cost the Australian taxpayers to reduce emissions by 43 per cent? (Time expired)
(—) (): Thank you to Senator Hanson for the question. She may be aware that the Labor Party in opposition did model this 43 per cent reduction by 2030 policy and issued the modelling transparently. That modelling showed that the plan, which includes a 43 per cent reduction, would in fact: create 604,000 jobs, with five out of six new jobs to be created in the region; would spur $76 billion dollars of investment; and would deliver 82 per cent renewable energy by 2030. What we have seen is generating capacity exiting the energy generation system over the life of the government of those opposite. That reduction in supply without new capacity coming onstream is central to why power prices are doing what they are doing. (Time expired)
First, I'm not sure about the figure, but we have, as a result of the Jobs and Skills Summit, indicated 195,000 places, and that is as a consequence of the capacity constraints in the economy and the skills crisis that we know, from talking to business and if you look at the data, exists. But the focus will be on permanent skilled migration, and that will add to the capacity of the Australian economy. It's important to recall that one of the things that we all have to do and Australia will have to do is to ensure, with the link between GDP and populations and emissions, that they are delinked and that we can continue to grow our economy in ways that don't continue to produce as many emissions. The way we do that is by the sorts of investments in renewable energy that our plan will deliver. (Time expired)