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Transcript of interveiw with Marius Benson: ABC News radio: 11 June 009: Renewable Energy Target.



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PW 154/09 11 June 2009 TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW ABC NEWS RADIO WITH MARIUS BENSON SUBJECT: RENEWABLE ENERGY TARGET E & O E - PROOF ONLY (N.B. Recording commenced during first answer.) WONG: … what we’re trying to do is to make sure we put forward good public policy. This is a design of the Renewable Energy Target that was made public in April - we listened to the views of industry, of business, who said they wanted us to look at the cumulative cost impact of both the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and the Renewable Energy Target legislation. That is what we have done, we have listened to business. We have designed the assistance recognising the impacts of both of those schemes just as requested. And as I have said, this has been public since April when it went to the Council of Australian Governments in Tasmania and was endorsed by the state governments. JOURNALIST: But business and nobody else has requested that you tie this legislation - this renewables legislation, involving assistance to business - tie it to your emissions trading. WONG: Well, what we are doing is recognising in the way in which assistance is delivered, both the impact of a carbon price through the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme as well as the impact of the Renewable Energy Target. I mean, this is sensible public policy and if the Opposition have only just woken up to it, really, it is a matter for them. What we are seeing is an Opposition which has backed itself into a corner because it is unable to get over the division in its party room to support the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, now blaming others for a problem which is of their own making. JOURNALIST: Well the Opposition is not the only political organisation that is critical of you. Nick Xenophon, the independent senator, is describing you as ‘sneaky’ and Christine Milne, the Greens senator, says the Government is sinking to low levels to wedge the Coalition. WONG: Well you know, I’ll have a chat to Nick because I might just point out to him - he might have missed it - that this was actually put out in April after the Council of Australian Governments, well before the Opposition made its decision about what to do on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. We have been focused, unlike the Opposition, on good public policy and on the national interest. We know that Australia’s emissions keep rising, what we need to do is to turn that around by putting in place a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and we have to put in place a Renewable Energy Target. I mean, let’s understand what we are dealing with here. We know climate change is occurring, we know it will intensify and accelerate in the lives of our children. So what this Senate, what this Parliament is being asked to do is to face up to that responsibility and to do something now to lessen the risk for our children and generations after.

JOURNALIST: Are you prepared to split the emissions trading legislation to go to the Senate from the renewables legislation in order to enjoy the broad support that the renewables legislation will have?

WONG: Well they are different pieces of legislation; they will be debated separately…

JOURNALIST: But voted on together?

WONG: We are committed to ensuring that these industries are provided with the assistance. What we have put forward is sensible public policy that recognises the impact of both.

JOURNALIST: Will you allow a separate vote on the two bills, on the two aspects of the bill?

WONG: Well that will be a matter for the Senate and at the moment the bills are listed separately. As I have said, this is the Opposition trying to blame other people for a problem of their own making and that problem is they have not been able to get over the division in their own party room when it comes to climate change.

JOURNALIST: Penny Wong, thank you very much.

WONG: Good to speak with you.

ENDS