The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

5 June 2011

Joint Interview with
Kate Jones MP
Queensland Minister for Environment and Resource Management

Doorstop Interview

Brisbane

5 June 2011

SUBJECTS: Climate Change Rally; Report into coastal asset damage from climate change; Australian Party; Campbell Newman

TREASURER:

Okay, well it's terrific to be here with Kate Jones on World Environment Day, and today is very important for all Australians who want to stand up for the environment and do something about putting a price on carbon pollution because if we don't do that our environment and our economy are threatened. We can see that in the report today from Geoscience Australia. It shows how our lifestyles and our economy in so many coastal areas is threatened by rising sea levels.

I grew up in a coastal city, and Kate and I live in a thriving coastal city, and what that means is we've got to deal with carbon pollution. We've got to reduce it so we can protect our lifestyle and protect our economy. That's so important and to emphasise that on World Environment Day, the importance of all Australians getting up and doing something about dangerous climate change, and the most effective thing that we can do is to put a price on carbon pollution. That's how we protect our economy for the long term. It's not just here in Brisbane. It's right up the Queensland coast and it's right around coastal Australia. But if you think here, particularly about Queensland and the threat to the Gold Coast, the threat to places like Hervey Bay and Townsville, and of course ultimately the threat to our Great Barrier Reef. So it's the right thing to do for Australia to put a price on carbon so we can protect our environment and we can make sure that economic growth is sustainable for the long term.

JONES:

It is so important that Queensland acts to protect our long-term economic future. The Great Barrier Reef is worth $6 billion to the Queensland economy. The Great Barrier Reef supports 65,000 Queensland jobs. These are jobs that we need to ensure we have for the long term sustainability of our state, and more importantly on World Environment Day this gives us an opportunity to stop and reflect on what is so important to us as Queenslanders. A price on carbon means that we can transition our economy and secure a long-term future.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Swan, the ACTU has expressed concerns that the carbon tax will cost jobs. Is the Government going to commit to protecting workers in this plan?

TREASURER:

Putting a price on carbon is the ultimate thing that we have to do to secure our future prosperity and to support jobs in our economy. If we don't put a price on carbon the cost of inaction will destroy jobs, will destroy our economy for the long term, and along with that our environment as well. So putting a price on carbon is the only growth strategy for the future and the only strategy that can support jobs, and I think the ACTU understands that.

JOURNALIST:

Bob Katter has launched a new political party today – the Australian Party. One of the key planks is the repeal of the carbon tax (inaudible)?

TREASURER:

Well, I work pretty closely with Bob Katter on a series of pretty important initiatives in regional Queensland, but what Bob does is entirely up to him. I think his formation of this party is more a reflection on the weakness of the Liberal and National parties in Queensland who have failed to stand up for regional areas. Our recent Budget had a very big emphasis on regional Australia, on supporting jobs, and development and growth in regional Australia.

JOURNALIST:

Do you think that, he's got many, many planks to the platform including the reintroduction of tariffs.

TREASURER:

Well, what I have to do as the Australian Treasurer is to put all of my effort behind supporting jobs in the Australian economy. There's been something like 700,000 jobs created during our term of Government. Unemployment is down to 4.9 per cent and we expect another 500,000 jobs in Australia in the next couple of years. I think job creation is pretty strong in Australia.

JOURNALIST:

The rising sea level report out today said there could be a $2 billion cost to infrastructure in Australia. What's the Government going to be able to do to stop it?

TREASURER:

Well, what we see in this very important report from Geoscience Australia is that the damage that will be done, almost a quarter of a trillion dollars worth of damage to essential infrastructure, to housing, to commercial property and so on, unless there is action to deal with rising sea levels. It's is a very important report from Geoscience Australia, that's what the science is showing us and we ought to take note of that science. It's terribly important, not just for the future of the economy, but for the sustainability of this country and the planet.

JOURNALIST:

Greg Hunt today too spoke of reinvigorating a Howard policy to invest more in rainforests. Is that something that you believe needs to be done?

TREASURER:

Well, for the life of me I can't understand how Mr Hunt could work with Mr Abbott. Mr Abbott is a climate change denier. He doesn't believe in the science of climate change. How Mr Hunt could work with a leader like that, I don't know. Mr Hunt used to believe in a market-based price for carbon. He doesn't believe in that anymore so I don't think he's got a lot of credibility.

JOURNALIST:

(Inaudible)?

TREASURER:

This is for the community groups today, but Kate and I are here today to demonstrate our support, to talk to people. It's a great pleasure to be out with so many Australians who understand the importance of our environment. Thanks.

JOURNALIST:

Kate, how do you feel about Campbell Newman door knocking in your electorate today?

JONES:

Well I've been out in my electorate all morning. I had the (inaudible) markets in the morning and also the fete. Campbell Newman has made it clear he has no intention of representing the people of Ashgrove. Ashgrove was his fourth choice. I'm someone that grew up locally. I'm raising my family there. I am committed to the people of Ashgrove and I think they understand that.

JOURNALIST:

He's certainly stepped up his campaign though by actually going from house to house.

JONES:

It is very clear that Campbell Newman's ambition is to be the Premier of Queensland, not to be a strong local member in Ashgrove. Ashgrove was his fourth choice and I think the people of Ashgrove deserve someone that lives in their community just like them and is just as passionate about our community as I am.