Sky News First Edition – climate change

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: Let’s go to Amanda Rishworth, she’s the Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education. But the conversation is all about net zero by 2050 this week, Amanda, good morning to you. So what do you make of the go slow? Barnaby Joyce on the program, saying they’re not going to be rushed? I mean, there’s a fair bit at stake here that involves a lot of people in the regions, and they have obvious concerns about it all. What do you make of these comments?

AMANDA RISHWORTH, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT: Well look, it’s not surprising. But you know, this is not just the National Party, this is the Liberal Party that has been in government for eight years now. And at no point, have we seen a credible plan, or taking credible action on climate change. So I am really concerned for the nation that we have both the Liberal Party and the National Party at the eleventh hour still talking about what the plan might be. We need to see some decisive action by the Prime Minister, he can’t just blame other people for his lack of action. We need to see a commitment ahead of Glasgow, and what that plan actually looks like. And it needs to be a credible plan to get to net zero by 2050. We need to see that outline, we need to see the modelling, and we need to have confidence that Australia is going to play its part at this incredibly important global conference.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, well, let’s go to Labor’s plan, and Anthony Albanese is not going to reveal anything until after Glasgow, particularly those earlier targets such as 2030. But just to get your view on it. First of all, will there be an updated 2030 target eventually?

RISHWORTH: Well we need to see what the government is saying. But it’s incorrect to say that Labor hasn’t committed to net zero by 2050, we’ve been very clear that that is our policy and we support that. But in addition, we have called on the government to have more ambitious 2030 targets. But we’re not the government, we’re not going to Glasgow. We’ve also announced some other quite important commitments about how we do move to net zero by 2050, and one of those is enabling renewable energy to be connected to the grid, by actually investing in the energy grid to allow renewables to be connected up. That’s a really important policy. We’ve also announced investment in green energy jobs. So we have been announcing policies that we would take to the election. But in terms of those 2030 targets, we need to see what the government negotiates in Glasgow, what the government commits to. But we think they need to be credible. There’s no point in agreeing to net zero by 2050 and have all the transformation for that at the end, because that doesn’t provide a credible pathway. And that’s what we need to see from this government.

STEFANOVIC: Should it be higher than the government’s current projections, though, when it comes to 2030? Should it be higher than the current projections, which is around about 32 to 35 per cent?

RISHWORTH: Well, we have been calling for more ambitious targets if we are going to credibly have a pathway to net zero by 2050. Because if you leave it all to the last minute, if you leave it to 2049 –

STEFANOVIC: When it comes to 2030 though?

RISHWORTH: Well you do need to have some credible pathway to get there and that includes 2030 targets, so the government needs to be upfront and clear about what those targets are, and how they plan to get there. And we’ve been urging the government to do that. We’ve been calling on the government to do that. But we’ve also said that after Glasgow, we will outline our policy in response to the government.

STEFANOVIC: But personally, do you believe they can be higher? Those cuts at 2030 can be higher than current projections, so above 35 per cent, is that your personal view?

RISHWORTH: Well it depends on the investment we make now, it depends on the action the government takes now. So look, as I said, Labor and I’ve been calling for more ambitious 2030 targets to be signed up at Glasgow. But if we continue to drag our feet, they are going to be hard to achieve. So we need not only the targets, but we need the plan as well. We haven’t seen any of that from this government, from this Prime Minister. I mean, we’ve got to remember this is the Prime Minister that ridiculed large scale battery, that said that electric cars would end the weekend. I mean, the fear campaign that this government has run. They shouldn’t be surprised that there is now some confusion and resistance within the National Party after the fear campaign that they’ve been running. The truth is we will miss out on the jobs opportunity if we don’t act now. The Deloitte modelling that’s been released says that inaction could cost our economy $3.4 trillion. I mean that is pretty significant.

STEFANOVIC: Amanda Rishworth, appreciate your time. We’ll talk to you soon.

RISHWORTH: Thank you.

ENDS

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