Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
ABC News Breakfast -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) ". Good to talk to you, thanks

Environment Minister Peter so much. The Federal

Garrett has conceded the Gorgon gas project in Western

Australia could increase

Australia's overall greenhouse

gas emissions by as much as 1%.

He's also admitted plans to

bury emissions from the $50

billion project under the

seabed may not work. "Could" is

probably the operative word.

The fact is that CO2 here will

be injected frankly basically

into sandstone. There are

faults in the substrata there

but faults can operate in

different ways, as an effective

capture mechanism or as a

leakage mechanism. We've got

pilot projects under way now on

CCS. We have reinjected

substances into empty aquifers

in the past. It has to be done

very carefully that will be the

case here. We have to do it in

a way which ensures there is

really strict and comprehensive

monitoring for any potential

leakages. But I think that the

geological formation on Barrow

is suitable to undertake a

project of this kind. Peter Garrett there speaking on 'Lateline' last night. The Federal Government's stimulus

package appears to have been effective as Australia remains

one of the few nations to avoid

recession. But the unemployment

is set to rise and we're going

to see some June GDP figures

out next week as well. For more

on this the Minister for Small Business and Consumer Affairs

Craig Emerson joins us

science and there's statistics now. Good morning. There's

and all the analysis and then

there's just that sense you

might get as you talk to

people. What is that feeling?

There is a confidence,

consumption and business

confidence, that's borne out by

the graphs which show us going down and then this sharp rise. That's good for future because

it means that people are more

likely to spend. That's what we

need at this stage, for people

to be spending more in shops

and investing. That's very

important for small businesses,

to make decisions to invest f

they do happen to have the cash

flow that enables them to do

so. We've got a small business

investment allowance that will

encourage that sort of thing.

So there is room for guarded

optimism. It will be a bumpy

road to recovery there's no

doubt about that but we're

doing better than any other

developed country in the world.

So that's a pretty good achievement in all the

circumstances. With all those

indications that confidence is

rising, are you expecting that

that dw. DP figure will be

positive? The difference

between positive and a negative

number in a GDP of 1100 billion

dollars, there's not a lot in

it. But look, we hope it will

be positive. We are I think the

only country apart from Poland

in the OECD that had positive

growth in the previous quarter.

The deepest recession in 75

years. So that is a tribute to

the ... Does it give you cause

for optimism, though? I think

so. Because John Maynard Keynes

used to talk about this. The

problem with economic downturns is people get into this downward spiral of gloom and

doom and they behave

accordingly and make it happen,

it's self-fulfilling. If you

can stop that early, which is

the point of the stimulus

package, stop that downward

spiral early, and I think

that's what we've done. It's

not just the government. It's

the great attitude of

businesses, large and small,

keeping people on. Because they remember, it's not that long

ago that they had real skills

shortages. There is even in some sectors now skills

shortages reemerging. They kept

their workers on which is a

great social achievement as

well as an economic

achievement, because we've had

fewer people losing their jobs

pessimistic forecasts would've than perhaps the most

suggested. If a member of the

opposition was sitting on the

couch here this morning they'd be choking on their toast right

now hearing you talking about the terrible thing is to talk

the economy down. That's

exactly what they accused you

of doing in lead-up to the

stimulus payments there was all

this gloom and doom spoken

about. It's not turned out that

way. A third of those stimulus

payments are being held in the

banks of individuals and they

haven't spent it. It would seem

that your response really was

an overreaction now? I don't

accept that at all. We were

actually - if anyone's talking

the economy down and I don't

want to get into a political

argument here, the coalition

was talking the economy down.

Exaggerating the unemployment

numbers. We had their shadow

Finance Minister asserting that

155,000 jobs had been lost

since October. Completely

untrue! Surely all that held

money would indicate that yours

was the overreaction, too,

otherwise it would've been

spent? No, and it's pretty

clear that the first stimulus

payment in December, some of it

was immediately spent, but

people did what I thought they

might do and that is, they let

their - they ran their credit

cards down. Come February, when

people go oh my God, I have

$5,000 debt on the credit card,

they had less than that, and

then started spending more, so

we had retail sales figures at

a time which ordinarily would

be very low were quite strong.

So the cash payment part worked

quite well, I think very well.

Then we moved into the nation-building infrastructure,

the small-scale infrastructure

and now into the large-scale

infrastructure. So those three

phases were carefully

calibrated to see us through as

best we could this deep global recession. Now, we've seen

economic stimulus package signs

being whacked up on toilets and

bike paths around the country.

Are you going a bit overboard

with that? It looks like

whatever building has popped

up, they're deciding to whack a

sign on it saying that this is

part of the program? I haven't

seen them on toilets. Do you

lift the lid to see the plaque?

Look, I think - we're just

indicating that it is a result

of a stimulus initiative, it is

the biggest school

modernisation program in the

nation's history, and

interestingly, when people talk

about the near-term future and

whether we'll continue to march

forward, a lot of the stimulus

is still coming through. In my

own electorate, a number of

school projects have started,

but others are yet to come

through. So out of that $42

billion nation-building

stimulus plan, 70% of which was

infrastructure, a lot of that

is still to come through, so

there's more, I suppose, good

news in terms of economic

stimulus yet to come through

the system. We were hearing

just before Peter Garrett admit

to the environmental cost of

the $50 billion Gorgon gas

project. In your view, is there

simply just an environmental

penalty that has to be paid if

you want to enjoy very

wealth-making projects such as

Gorgon in this country? It's

not only wealth making. If we

stick stroirmental

considerations ... There is

clearly a cost to be paid. Environmental benefits. If you weigh it up

for me, how does it go?

Obviously there are clear

economic benefit, but other

people care a lot more about

the environmental balance, and

this is a fossil fuel.

Liquefied natural gas is a

fossil fuel, but in Asia - and

that's where it's being

exported to, to China and other

countries - it will displace coal-fired power stations. And

a lot of that coal that's going

into those power stations is

incredibly emissions intensive.

So the net balance on the

environment, if we truly do

take a global view of this and

surely we must, that climate

change is a global issue, then

you get a very clear net

positive for environment, and a

clear net positive for the

Australian economy. So your

view is that you just gotta

stand right back from this, so

... No, I'm saying it's a

global issue. No order to take

that global picture n order to

say OK, there is emissions

there but we'll reduce them all

the way over there. And that's how it should be

considered. That's a very

long-term view! No, it's a

very wide view. A wide view of

the world. Every environmentalist and everyone

including me will tell you that

climate change is a global

issue. If we reduce global emissions, that's gotta be a

tick for the Gorgon project,

and for everyone who supported it including the

proponents. And if you are so

concerned about environmental

impacts why not put the plant

on the coast rather than on an island where there are

apparently endangered species

which will be affected? It

would substantially have

affected the viability of it.

If the proposal is "We support

it but just stick it somewhere

else", this is a proposal

that's been developed and works

in all engineering terms where

it is on Barrow Island. Now , I

remember when I used to work in

the Hawke Government, working

on a rent tax regime for Barry

island oil. There is oil

production going on now on

Barrow Island. So if your view

is have a kind of an image of

Barrow Island as this untouched

place, there's oil wells on

Barrow Island now. That doesn't

mean we should be anything but

careful about the environmental

impacts and we have been, and

that's why Peter Garrett has announced something like 28

different conditions that need

to be complied with by the

proponents. Good to see you