Joint Doorstop Interview, Campbellfield
Posted on Wednesday, 29 June 2011
Subject: Julia Gillard’s carbon tax; live cattle exports.
It’s really good to be here at the Visy plant. This is a great industrial success story. It’s also a great environmental success story. Visy are one of our most successful international companies. They are a world leading company when it comes to recycling. They operate in many countries because this is a good example of Australian creativity leading the world. I say it’s also a great environmental success story because what we’ve seen today is a major investment by Visy, a $50 million power plant that will convert garbage into power and in the process it will reduce emissions by 70,000 tonnes a year. Now, this is something which Visy finds economic to do right now so this is a marvellous example of how we are reducing emissions without a tax. This is a marvellous example of how companies are taking direct action to reduce emissions without a tax. Now, Visy will in fact find this kind of investment much harder under the Government’s carbon tax regime because this will add to their costs without necessarily making this kind of activity more attractive and advantageous for a company like Visy. So this is a great example of why we need incentives not penalties if we are going to move to a low emissions future.
I might ask Anthony, Anthony Pratt, I want to thank Anthony for the warm welcome today. I want to congratulate the Pratt family for everything they have done for our country in so many fields over the years. After Anthony has said a few words, I might ask Sophie Mirabella, the Shadow Minister for Industry, to say a few words. Then I might have a couple of observations on another subject and then take some questions.
Thank you, Tony. We are very honoured to have Tony Abbott here today. We are very proud to build this clean energy plant. It’s Visy’s fourth clean energy plant that we’ve built in the world of which three are in Australia and one is in the United States and we are about a third of our emissions approximately through clean energy, a third of our energy comes through clean energy. So, we are very pleased to do that and we hope to continue to invest in Australia and in clean energy.
Thanks mate. Soph?
What a great facility here to have industry leaders such as Visy show what can be done to produce clean energy to do their bit for the environment, and we need to be able to reward businesses like Visy and provide opportunity for other enterprises to follow in their lead, showing that you need to act, not tax people, to ensure that we do do our bit for the environment and we do do our bit to save the planet. Another example of why we need to get rid of the toxic carbon tax and to help people, give them the vision, give them the example of what they can do to reduce emissions for Australia and the world.
Ok. This is yet another example of how Julia Gillard’s carbon tax won’t clean up the environment but it will clean out people’s wallets and it will wipe out jobs big time in so many of Australia’s industries. The beauty of this energy recycling plant is that it will actually reduce emissions. This is not just a zero emissions power generation, this is a net negative emissions power generation because it saves garbage going into landfill where it would be one of the worst sources of emissions. So by using garbage, biomass to generate power, you are actually reducing emissions. It is better than solar, better than wind, when it comes to generating power with the best possible contribution in terms of emissions reduction.
Look, the other subject that I just want to talk about briefly is the live cattle trade to Indonesia. Now, I’m pleased that the Prime Minister has met with some of the Northern Territory cattle people today. I think that’s good but what the cattle industry needs is action, not words. They need action, not talk, and I think that what the Prime Minister needs to do is fix the problem that the Government created. She’s flown up to Darwin. Why doesn’t she just go the extra distance to Indonesia, sit down with the Indonesian Government, assure the Indonesian Government that this is not about them, it’s just about ensuring that we have acceptable international standards for the Australian cattle trade. Her Government created the problem. She needs to fix the problem. The best way to fix the problem is to go to Indonesia, sit down with the Indonesian Government and then get this trade restarted immediately to those many Indonesian abattoirs that fully meet international standards.
Mr Abbott, the Greens have released a report today saying that $50 billion of mining profits go offshore in the next five years. What do you make of the report?
I think that what we saw from Senator Brown was a one hour brag-a-thon about how he is really the power behind this Government. Basically, we had Senator Brown saying, look, what this Government is doing is all at the behest of the Greens and things are just going to be even more so come the first of July when the Greens take over the Senate as they see it. So, I think we had a very good example today of how Julia Gillard might be in office, but Bob Brown is in power.
What did you think of the report though? Is it xenophobic as the Minerals Council have said?
We’ve got to remember that foreign investors take millions out of our country but they put billions in first, and the billions that they put in here produce taxes in Australia, they produce jobs in Australia because they produce industries in Australia. We wouldn’t have a mining and resources sector here in this country but for foreign investment so I think that we’ve got to appreciate that it’s not so much the money they take out that matters, it’s the money that they put in that we really need and if we want them to put the money in, we’ve got to allow them to take a small amount back out.
On a related matter, there have been concerns raised in the last couple of days that Chinese mining companies are buying up prime agricultural land. Should the Government be doing more to regulate those purchases?
Again, I think that foreign investment is a good thing. We’ve got to make sure though that it’s in Australia’s national interest and that why we have a Foreign Investment Review Board which is there to review significant foreign investments in our country. Now, I can understand why people are concerned about the scale of the foreign purchases of agricultural land and agri-businesses and I think it is important that we have another look at the Foreign Investment Review Board thresholds for these kinds of purchases. Now, that’s something that the Coalition is doing at the moment. We are having another look at the threshold for these kinds of purchases because we do have to ensure that what’s done is in Australia’s national interests.