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Transcript of doorstop interview: 19 August 2008: Liberal position on nuclear; Bureau of Meteorology MOA; Senate solar inquiry.



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THE HON PETER GARRETT AM MP

MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, HERITAGE AND THE ARTS

TRANSCRIPT

E&OE TRANSCRIPT DOORSTOP INTERVIEW RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT ASSOCIATION 19 AUGUST 2008 SUBJECTS: Liberal position on nuclear; Bureau of Meteorology MOA; Senate solar inquiry

JOURNALIST: What do you think of Ian McFarlane’s comments about the possibility of nuclear power stations in Australia?

GARRETT: I’m astonished that the Opposition has got such a dog’s breakfast position on nuclear now, with the Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson ruling it out and his deputy and now a senior frontbencher ruling it back in again.

The Liberal Party has got to get real and come up with new solutions to put forward into the debate about how we address climate change, not trot out their old pro-nuclear plans, which were discredited at the last election.

The last election showed that Australians are absolutely of one mind about not having 25 nuclear power plants dotted around their suburbs and in and around their cities. And I just think the Liberal Party’s got to get real. Is it Brendan Nelson who’s right and the Liberal Party doesn’t stand for nuclear energy or is it Mr Macfarlane and Ms Bishop who are right and they do?

Time for Mr Nelson to get his party in order, time for the Liberal Party to settle down its policies and stop coming out with these ridiculous reverse positions that they held years ago and which were discredited at the last election.

JOURNALIST: We’ve seen in the Canberra Times today that there’s talk of a weather station run by the US Department of Defence. Given your activist history, are you at all uncomfortable with this?

GARRETT: Well, look, there have been discussions underway between the Australian Government and the Americans about weather stations and sharing that sort of information. Those discussions are still underway. This is a part of our ongoing engagement on matters meteorological, and on that basis, we’ll let those discussions continue.

JOURNALIST: You don’t really regard it as a defence thing so much as a weather station?

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GARRETT: This is about sharing weather information and agreeing on the way in which that will be done. Those discussions are underway. It is about weather - that is what the issue is here.

JOURNALIST: Also there is going to be a report on the solar rebate coming out from the Senate this week. Are you concerned at all that it will be critical or are you fairly satisfied that the issues have been resolved in regards of actually raising the threshold?

GARRETT: This Senate report will show what the Government has always said is vindicated, in that the applications for solar panels under this rebate have grown massively since the Budget decision. Our decision to means test the rebate was the right and responsible decision to take economically. The Opposition got it completely wrong. They said the sky was falling in. You know, Opposition frontbencher Greg Hunt played his typical ‘chicken little’ role with a bit of colourful language, and in fact, the evidence that was put before this Senate committee showed that applications for the solar rebate are running at record levels. That should give the solar industry some confidence that the decision-making was sound by this Government.

[ENDS]

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Ben Pratt Press Secretary Office of Peter Garrett MP Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts ben.pratt@environment.gov.au Ph. 02 6277 7640 Mob. 0419 968 734

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