Wed, 12 Jun 2024 - 14:11



Shadow Minister for Science and the Arts

Shadow Minister for Government Services and the Digital Economy

Manager of Opposition Business in the House




12 JUNE 2024

KIERAN GILBERT: Welcome back to the program. Let's go live to the Manager of Opposition Business in the House of Representatives, Paul Fletcher, the Member for Bradfield. Appreciate your time as always, Paul. This shift in climate approach from the Coalition, a toughening of your stance, how's that going to play in your seat of Bradfield?

PAUL FLETCHER: Well, we've made it clear we're strongly committed to Net Zero by 2050. And of course, one of the reasons why we're looking very carefully at nuclear is because nuclear energy is a critical part of the way that many countries we benchmark ourselves against, like the US, the UK, Canada, Sweden, and France, are planning to achieve a net zero target. Nuclear energy is zero emissions. Nobody believes that Mr. Bowen's plans are achievable, and what we've simply pointed out is that it is very unlikely that Mr. Bowen's target is going to be achieved. But can I make this point? All this discussion about targets, let's look at the performance. I come from a business background. In business, you set your targets, but then how do you perform against them?

In 2013, emissions were 557 million tons. By the end of 2022, emissions were 432 million tons. So under nine years of a Coalition government, we got emissions down from 557 million tons to 432 million tons. We'd achieved a 29% reduction on 2005 levels. So we'd actually already reached the commitment that we had taken. It was Mr. Bowen's moral vanity that saw him rush off to commit to 43%.

KIERAN GILBERT: Do you accept that many of your voters want that ambition to continue? There are people on the North Shore of Sydney that would want to see ambition, not a backslide, wouldn't they?

PAUL FLETCHER: What people want to see is achievement. They want to see emissions being reduced. The point I make is that we got emissions down to 29% below 2005 levels by the time we left government. When we came into government, they were at 8.6% down. So we got them from 8.6% down to 29% down. Mr. Bowen is flatlining. Under Mr. Bowen, the emissions reduction performance is flatlining.

That's why we're working so hard on the role of nuclear as well as gas. Gas will have a critical role. You know, it was ironic in your earlier grab from the Prime Minister, you had him at a media conference at Western Sydney Airport. Let's talk about Western Sydney Airport as an example of delivery. He came into parliament in 1996 and started talking about Western Sydney Airport. He never delivered it. It took the Coalition to deliver Western Sydney Airport. We took a decision in Cabinet in 2014, and it is now on track to be delivered by 2026. If you want to look at performance, whether it's airport or climate change emissions reduction, the Coalition is the side of politics that delivers.

KIERAN GILBERT: Your opposition leader said that your Shadow Cabinet discussed this issue when you voted against the 43% target by 2030. Has it been discussed more recently than that in terms of this move now to explicitly say you won't be following the government in terms of that 2030 number?

PAUL FLETCHER: Well, again, I'm not going to discuss our internal processes. But I would make the point that all Peter Dutton said in the interview that was reported in the Australian on Saturday morning was Mr. Bowen is not going to achieve his targets. He simply stated what everybody knows to be a reality. This seems to be some kind of emperor's new clothes moment that it's shocking that we should be stating the truth, but it is the truth. It might cause Mr. Bowen some embarrassment in the gilded halls of Paris, but the simple fact is under him, performance on actual reduction of emissions is flatlining after nine years in which the Coalition achieved material reductions in emissions, and we are simply making that point.

KIERAN GILBERT: Are you confident you can retain Bradfield in the face of a teal threat? Because you survived the last teal wave, can you survive the next?

PAUL FLETCHER: The case I'll be making to the people of Bradfield is on our performance on emissions reduction when last we were in government, and on our commitment to Net Zero by 2050, and serious, credible, detailed plans to achieve that, including the role of nuclear, and pointing out that Mr. Bowen is not achieving against the targets that he has set.

KIERAN GILBERT: Paul Fletcher, thank you as always. Appreciate it.