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Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

17 September 2002

Ozone Hole Closing but Labor Split Emerges on Kyoto


The Howard Government welcomes today's great news from CSIRO that the nations of the world are successfully repairing the ozone hole and remains committed to tackling the global greenhouse problem by working to meet our Kyoto target of 108 percent of 1990 emissions by the end of the decade.

All Australians should be proud of the lead role Australia has played in helping to plan and implement this truly global approach to a global problem through the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (see attached fact sheet).

The Montreal Protocol shows precisely what is wrong with the Kyoto Protocol:

Having delivered on our obligations under the Montreal Protocol, Australia is now working hard with developing countries in our region to help them meet theirs:

Labor should get off the Kyoto conga-line and start working for a real solution to the global greenhouse problem. Peter Beattie thinks so. Simon Crean should listen to him (see attached transcript).

Media Contact:
Catherine Job 02 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Related Information


Fact Sheet

Australia and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer

1An ODS used in fire suppression that is many times more potent than CFCs


Queensland Labor Premier, Peter Beattie Rejects ALP Calls to Ratify Kyoto Protocol

Transcript
Press Conference
Executive Building Brisbane
1.53 pm, 16th September, 2002.

Interview with Queensland Premier Peter Beattie in Response to NSW Labor Premier Bob Carr

Reporter:

(Indistinct) Do you think that there's anything that Queensland can do for, you know, the carbon credits and that sort of thing?

Beattie:

Well, I don't quite know what Bob's statement means in practical terms for us and I'd need to explore that. There are two states that are going to be severely di... well, sorry. Let's put this in context. There is only one state in Australia that would be advantaged economically by the Kyoto protocols and that's New South Wales. That's the reality. That's what I'm briefed. There is only one state who would have a net gain. They would benefit.

Other states like Queensland, Western Australia and I think all the other states; and I'm not sure about Victoria, I think Victoria's marginal between ... it's probably almost neutral in Victoria, but the rest of us are disadvantaged. Now, we are making change here. This is one of the reasons. The Kyoto protocols were one of the reasons why we've brought in a fifteen per cent gas component for our generation, from the first of January 2005. I'm sorry, it's thirteen per cent natural gas, two per cent renewables and the two per cent renewables are important but it still comes to fifteen per cent, Kim (ph.sp.).

So we are gradually making the transition. What we want to try and do in terms of carbon credits, obviously we want to get advantage. We've talked, as part of the Regional Forest Agreement with planting timbers on crown land. Yes, we want to get carbon credit arrangements and we are working on a regime and looking at it now. But no-one should be under any illusions. We need time to progress to it.

Look, I'd love to see the Kyoto protocols come in but I know in the short term Queensland would be disadvantaged. All we've asked for is some time to get our house in order. We're doing that. The coal industry here , to their credit, were reasonably supportive. There was some criticism, but reasonably supportive of a fifteen per cent and renewables component.

The other thing that's happening here, though, is that the clean coal technology which is being pursued here is being pursued in a very significant way so that coal is not the pollutant that it used to be. So we are making significant changes here. Yes, I'm keen ... I'm very keen to get a carbon trading arrangement in place. But I say this with great courtesy: Bob Carr's a good mate of mine, but I can understand why Bob's in the luxurious position to say that. His state's the only one that benefits.

Reporter:

So you agree with John Howard's decision not to sign the protocol at this stage?

Beattie:

Oh look, that's a matter for the federal government. If they sign the ...

Reporter:

You're saying it would be (indistinct) in the short term ...

Beattie:

Yeah, if ...

Reporter:

... and that's what John Howard is arguing as well.

Beattie:

Yeah, yeah, sure. Well, it's true. I mean, I'm just telling what the truth is. If he signed now, and that's a matter for the federal government, if they want to sign now that's fine, but there should be some arrangement put in place to protect Queensland's position and Western Australia's position. And again look, I'm not trying to be cute here, if the government had done nothing to improve our greenhouse gas emission issues then we could be criticised.

The fact is we've made the momentous and very significant decision to introduce a component of natural gas and renewables into our energy generating market. Bearing in mind we've got the highest quality and cheapest coal in the world right here and we've bit the bullet to do that. And we want some time to make sure that we can reach those goals. In the end, in the end Australia has to meet the Kyoto protocols but we need time, and that's what we're working on. We haven't sat on our bums, we've actually done something and we need time to have it implemented.

As I said, I understand Bob's position but he is the only Australian premier that wins from it, and that's fine. If I was in that position I'd be out there grandstanding as well.

End of Segment

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