Doorstop – Canberra – Tuesday, 17 October 2017


SUBJECTS: Northern Australia Statement and NAIF, energy announcement.

JASON CLARE: Today’s a big day in Parliament, lot’s going on. One of the things happening today is Barnaby Joyce will hand down his update on the Northern Australia White Paper. Every year the Government gives an update on its plans for Northern Australia. And today what Barnaby Joyce needs to do is explain why after more than two years the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility still hasn’t allocated a cent to infrastructure to create jobs in Northern Australia.

Two and a half years ago they announced the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility. Two and a half years on bugger all has happened. No money has been allocated to infrastructure projects and no jobs have been created. It’s just a great example of a government which talks a big game and doesn’t deliver. Today when Barnaby Joyce comes into the Parliament to give an update to the Australian people on their Northern Australia plans he needs to explain what the hold-up is. Why are we still waiting for any projects to be funded by this government through the NAIF, and what’s he going to do to fix it.

JOURNALIST: We’ve seen a few details of the Coalition’s new energy policy this morning, at least what’s been reported of it. What do you make of it?

CLARE:  Well we haven’t seen very many details at all. I don’t think the Party room has seen any details either. We’ll wait and see what the details of the package are. I think it is clear though, and I think what we can say is Tony Abbott has had a win. Tony Abbott has had a victory here. Only a couple of weeks ago Malcolm Turnbull was saying that the Clean Energy Target proposed by the Chief Scientist was the way to go. He said it would work. It would help to do what’s needed to provide energy security and reliability in Australia. Now he’s walked away from that. Remember Malcolm Turnbull appointed the Chief Scientist, asked him for a report, said his proposal was the right one. Now after Tony Abbott makes a speech about sacrificing goats in London he’s running away from that at a hundred miles an hour.

JOURNALIST: How important in this debate is reliability?

CLARE: It is important. It’s extremely important. What’s also important is that we can rely on a Prime Minister. You can’t trust anything this Prime Minister says nowadays. Remember this is the bloke who said the NBN would be built by 2016, it didn’t happen. He said he’d cut gas prices in half, that hasn’t happened either. Now apparently he’s going to promise today that he’s going to cut people’s electricity bills by $115. I’d be very wary of any promises this Prime Minister makes about energy or anything else, because more often than not he makes big promises and doesn’t deliver. You’ve seen that on NBN. You’ve seen it on gas prices. We’ve also seen that with Northern Australia. The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, $5 billion to build infrastructure in Northern Australia, and not one cent has been spent on infrastructure to date.

JOURNALIST: What do you make of the idea to require states to purchase their electricity from certain types of generation, from certain sources like coal or gas?

CLARE: We’ve only just seen – I suspect – bits and pieces of what the Government’s going to announce today. Let’s look at the details. We’ll go through all of those details and then we’ll respond in due course. I think what is very clear here is that this Prime Minister is running away from everything he ever stood for when it comes to energy. He said he’d never lead a Party that wasn’t as committed to taking action on climate change as he is. That’s all changed. The transformation from Malcolm Turnbull into Tony Abbott now seems complete.


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