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Transcript of doorstop: Tuesday 3 February 2009: Accelerated depreciation for energy efficient buildings; weekend sitting; employment; working together; stimulus package; insulation.



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Tue, 3rd February 2009

TURNBULL DOORSTOP - ACCELERATED DEPRECIATION FOR ENERGY EFFICIENT BUILDINGS, WEEKEND SITTING, EMPLOYMENT, WORKING TOGETHER, STIMULUS PACKAGE...

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP Leader of the Opposition

Subjects - accelerated depreciation for energy efficient buildings, weekend sitting, employment, working together, stimulus package, insulation.

E&OE

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

We’ve just seen a great example of a five green star building and an example of what smart technology and good design can do to save energy, save water and obviously reduce emissions. Now a little while ago we proposed that there should be an additional tax break for investments like that that improve energy efficiency - more efficient lighting, more efficient water use and so forth - that would double the rate of depreciation. And those types of investments are obviously very useful in a new building like this but they can also be put into old buildings and of course the vast majority of our building stock is old.

So if you want to drive employment, if you want to drive jobs - and our focus is on jobs, jobs, jobs - then encouraging building owners like the gentlemen we’ve just been speaking with to invest in energy efficiency in their existing buildings is very valuable. So I hope Mr Rudd includes energy efficiency measures in his stimulus package that he’s going to announce today.

Now we are committed to working with Mr Rudd. We seek to cooperate with Mr Rudd on this new stimulus package. We want to go through it, and we will go through it, line by line, dollar by dollar in a very detailed and intensive way, because we have got to make sure that it’s right and that it’s effective. Not all of his measures have been effective so far. He has made some quick decisions which have not worked very well at all.

So we will work very closely with him. We’re prepared to sit all night, over the weekend, we’ll put all the time into it that it needs to go through this very, very carefully. Our commitment is to work with him cooperatively. I’d like to sit down with him across the table and work through these ideas, his proposals, our proposals and see if we can reach common ground. If he is not prepared to do that then we will nonetheless apply great scrutiny in a very constructive way to this stimulus package when he presents it.

QUESTION:

When you say common ground, what do you mean? I mean, isn’t it the simple case that you will see the details and decide yea or nay on whether or not you support it?

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

Well we will look at the detail and we may seek to amend it, we may seek to change it. Some of it we may not agree with. We will go through it very carefully. The great opportunity that Mr Rudd is letting slip is the opportunity to work constructively and cooperatively. You see you can look behind us here, you can see the jobs, the men and the women that are working there could be joined by thousands of other men and women working to make our buildings more energy efficient if the Prime Minister were to take up our proposal to create green jobs and greener buildings - a win-win. He could take up that suggestion. I don’t know whether he will.

But it would make a lot more sense if we were able to sit down and talk about these things constructively.

QUESTION:

What about the insulation measure. I mean that will create a lot of jobs and energy efficiency?

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

Well I’m pleased that Mr Rudd is focused on insulation. It’s about time. I raised the issue of insulation in my speech on climate on the 24th of January and made the point that it represents probably the single biggest opportunity for straightforward, easy gains in energy efficiency. So it’s a very important area.

But you know Mr Rudd promised a $500 rebate in his election in 2007 and as of a few weeks ago they hadn’t paid any of those rebates because according to the Government’s own website the programme details have not been finalised. So if he’s actually getting on with the programme that he promised that would be a good thing. But we’ll have a look at it in great detail and make sure that from our point of view it’s right before we give it a tick off.

QUESTION:

What about more generally though, what would you like to see, what would the Opposition like to see as part of this package? You said that you’ll wait and see and look at the detail but what would you like to see in there?

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

Well we’ve made a number of proposals for measures that would add considerably to jobs, to economic activity, that would make our economy stronger. We’ve talked about bringing

forward the tax cuts from July 1, bringing them forward so that people got that tax break or those tax cuts earlier. We’ve talked about accelerated depreciation for green buildings. We just discussed that now. We’ve talked about and proposed that there be changes to our insolvency laws so that when companies and businesses get into trouble, instead of going into a fire sale and everyone losing their jobs, there’s an emphasis on reconstruction and rehabilitation.

There’s a whole range of measures that we’ve canvassed. Governments have got to look at the whole range of opportunities, as do oppositions, and we’ll scrutinise what Mr Rudd presents. But we’ve made a number of proposals, concrete proposals. We’ll see whether he takes any of them up.

QUESTION:

The International Monetary Fund encouraged developed economies including Australia to inject stimulus, further stimulus, that’s exactly what the Government is doing today, so in simple language is it something that you endorse given the International Monetary Fund does?

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

We certainly support the Government taking effective action and we’ve proposed a number of effective actions for the Government to take. But we’re not giving Mr Rudd a blank cheque. We will scrutinise in great detail what he proposes. We’ll go through it line by line. We’re prepared to sit through the night and all weekend if necessary to make sure that it is given the fullest scrutiny.

QUESTION:

Can you actually promise a united Coalition response to this package? Coalition unity hasn’t been there in the past on some elements that the Rudd Government has put before the Opposition.

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

The approach that I have just outlined is the approach the whole Coalition will take.

QUESTION:

If I could just draw you on one thing. The AOC Commissioner John Coates wants an extra $100 million a year for the Australian Olympic team heading towards the Olympics, what do you think about that?

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

Well I haven’t seen that proposal. I’ll have a look at it and we’ll respond to that after we’ve considered it carefully.

Thank you.