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Transcript of doorstop: Queensland Media Club, Brisbane: 28 July 2008: Coal protest; clean coal.



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THE HON PETER GARRETT AM MP

MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, HERITAGE AND THE ARTS

TRANSCRIPT

E&OE TRANSCRIPT DOORSTOP INTERVIEW QUEENSLAND MEDIA CLUB, BRISBANE

28 JULY 2008

SUBJECTS: Coal protest; clean coal

GARRETT: The main message that I have given today speaking to Queensland media and all of these guests is that Queensland’s economy and the protection of the environment go in hand in hand, particularly with the pressures that we face with climate change down the track, and especially because Queensland derives so much of its income from natural tourism and tourism generally.

So, Australia in the future and this state in the future, will maintain a sustainable economy on the back of an adequate and comprehensive protection of its natural resources and its natural assets and under our programs - under the Rudd Labor Government’s approach federally - we are enabling Australian’s to invest in the protection of the natural environment. We’re providing opportunities for Australian’s to come up with innovative and strong solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to increase biodiversity in habitats and more generally to recognise that increasing the resilience of our environment - the capacity to withstand shocks and changes such as climate change - is absolutely essential to our way of life in the future.

JOURNALIST: Minister, regarding this protest at Hay Point by Greenpeace protesters who have graffitied on the side of coal ships, are they harming their cause or hindering it by graffitying [inaudible]?

GARRETT: Well, I think for some people the issue of coal is something which they are focusing on but it is clear that we have to have a national approach which sees significant investment in clean coal technology, recognises that coal will play in our economy, both domestically and in terms of export, and that there are a range of additional measures that this Government has brought forward - investment in renewable energy, a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, great [inaudible] measures for householders and for

schools with the Solar Schools Plan - all of which can address the issue of dangerous climate change.

JOURNALIST: But, their issue, they say, in April you approved an expansion of Gladstone’s ability to be able to load coal and that contributes to greenhouse emissions. Is that correct or not?

GARRETT: Well, every decision that I take under the EPBC Act must take into account the impact on matters of national environmental significance and I take those considerations very seriously and very diligently, as we did with this particular proposal. And my concern there was specifically about the management of dust and the impact that it may have on the Great Barrier Reef, which, as we know, is World Heritage listed. And I satisfied myself that there was no unacceptable and significant impact on matters of national environmental significance and as a consequence I made that decision.

JOURNALIST: Should we stop exporting coal?

GARRETT: Well again, the Government has made its position clear here. Of course we think there needs to be additional resources for renewable energy, there needs to be additional measures to deal with energy efficiency, there needs to be the capacity for Australian’s in their schools and their homes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money as well, and at the same time we do have a coal industry which is significant. It is a significant employer, it is significant in economic terms and the Government’s strong commitment to make sure that we have clean coal in place and carbon capture and sequestration technologies brought on as soon as possible is really what this debate is all about.

Thanks everybody.