MONDAY, 1 APRIL 2019
SUBJECTS: Labor’s $200 million fund to rollout charging infrastructure across the country; Labor’s Climate Change Action Plan; tax cuts.
ALICIA PAYNE, LABOR'S CANDIDATE FOR CANBERRA: Good morning everyone. My name is Alicia Payne, I am Labor's candidate for the seat of Canberra, and I'm thrilled this morning to welcome our Leader Bill Shorten and his colleagues to talk today about this very important announcement on climate change. I'd also like to acknowledge my fellow ACT candidate David Smith, who is the candidate for Bean and current Senator. Only Labor will take the action we need on climate change and I really look forward to talking more with Canberrans about this really important policy. So I'm going to hand over now to Bill Shorten and Mark Butler to talk further. Thank you.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks. That was Alicia Payne, one of Labor's great new candidates running here in the ACT for the federal election.
Well, good morning everybody. There couldn't be a better morning, because today after six years of Coalition chaos I'm pleased that I and my colleagues are able to announce further details of our climate change policy. Our policy will take real action on climate change, it'll generate a lot of jobs and it'll also help put downward pressure on the price of energy and the cost of living.
For six years Australian politics has been broken. People do not understand why it has been so hard for this Government to form an energy policy and take real action on climate change. Anyone who thinks that the current coalition, in the next three years can do what they haven't been able to do in the last six years with all of their disunity, that is a triumph of hope over experience.
But Labor on the other hand, we've been doing the work, we've been talking to the experts, we've been listening to communities, we've been listening to people who want us to hand on a better deal on our environment to our kids and our grandkids than that which we inherited. But for too long inaction, chaos, division, and going backwards has been the order of the day. Put simply, our climate change policy - and Mark will go into further detail in a minute - it's about the future versus the past. It's about hope versus fear. It's about handing on a better deal to our kids. It's about not putting off the problems of carbon pollution to another generation merely because of disunity and dysfunction in the current government.
Now, our plan for climate change will ensure that the economy keeps growing. What we're going to do is invest in more renewables. We've already illustrated that through supporting households, the two million households already who have rooftop solar, be able to acquire batteries and install batteries. It's about working with heavy industry. It's about partnering with business. It's about partnering with unions but it's about working for the environment.
So we're going to take the structure which former Prime Minister Turnbull outlined in the National Energy Guarantee and extend that because people are over the division and the debates and the buck passing. We're going to work with the people who work on the land to further improve our opportunities to reduce our carbon footprint, to reduce carbon pollution. We're going to make sure that we look after our emissions intensive trade exposed industrial sector to make sure that whatever changes we make we do so on the basis that we can protect traditional jobs in steel, and aluminium, and cement, and other very vital parts of our economy, both in our cities and our regions. It's also about improving our transportation sector and what it can contribute to reducing the harmful effects of climate change. To that end. I'm really pleased to announce that what we will do, is we are going to make it more convenient to be able to drive an electrical vehicle in Australia.
It's about time this country got in front of the electric car revolution sweeping the rest of the world. It's about time that this country decided that we can make electric vehicles in Australia, that we can also help create a set of circumstances - create a market - for electric vehicles, which makes them affordable for household users. It's about time we reduce the cost and burden of driving petrol cars and the fuel costs that go with it. And we're going to do this through, a $200 million infrastructure plan.
Electric cars, people are interested in them and we need to get more being able to get brought to Australia for people to purchase, thereby getting the price down. But one of the problems is there's not enough charging stations, so what we're going to do is work with industry and work with state and local governments to put a network of charging stations right around Australia on our national highways, so people can actually seriously contemplate getting an electrical vehicle and be confident there's a charging station and we'll be happy to answer questions on that.
There's also been a discussion in recent weeks as to whether or not we would use these Kyoto credits - and some of you have diligently been asking us about our position on this. We've come to the view, and Mark can talk about this in more detail, that we're not going to go down that path. Only Ukraine and the Australian Liberal Party are interested in using Kyoto credits. We want to be fair dinkum about climate change, not dragging the anchor and putting off the hard issues for another generation. For me this is a genuine policy to tackle climate change not a political patch up job by the current government. We need to do better than the last six years. This election's not just a test of who gets elected. It's a test of whether or not this nation can move into the future or remain stuck in the past. It's a test of whether or not as a nation we're fed up with the disunity and chaos, the inability of the current government to deal with climate change, and instead we make a decision that we won't let down future generations and that Australian politics can mend - that we can fix the six years of madness of the previous government and we can get on with actually taking real action on climate change.
I’d now like to hand over to Mark Butler to make a few more points and then of course I and my team are more than happy to take any questions that you might have. Thank you.
MARK BUTLER, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY: Thank you, Bill and thank you Alicia for hosting us here today. Today's announcements deliver on our commitment to future generations to protect them from dangerous levels of global warming and to chart a path for Australia to deliver on the commitment that we and all of the rest of the world's nations signed up to in 2015, to keep global warming well below two degrees.
Today's announcements build on our comprehensive energy plan that we announced before Christmas - a 50 per cent renewable energy commitment by 2030, tapping into technology as Bill has said, like household batteries to bring down power bills for Australian households and much more besides. It also builds on the hydrogen policy announcement we announced in January that will also create thousands and thousands of new jobs, on top of the 70,000 jobs that independent modelling says will come with a 50 per cent renewable energy commitment we've made.
Today rounds out our climate change action plan. We've put in place a policy that has responded to a range of business calls that we've heard as we've engaged with them over the last 12 months. Business wants us to work with the government's existing safeguard mechanism and we've decided to agree to that proposition. Not only will this make sure that business is able to work with systems they've been working on for the last few years but it also provides a platform for bipartisanship in the future. As does our commitment to working on the National Energy Guarantee. These are two of Malcolm Turnbull's signature policies and if the Coalition ever gets over its ideological opposition at the moment to climate change policy, there is a platform there for bipartisanship and for business certainty.
We've also listened to a range of business calls to improve the safeguards mechanism, to open up access to international carbon markets that allow business to trade in those markets in the same way they trade in every other international market, to reinvigorate the carbon farming initiative, to expand access to land based offsets and a range of other things that business has asked us to do about the safeguards mechanism. We also want Australia to be back in the driver's seat in terms of the revolution that is sweeping the global vehicle market. Australia now has the lowest uptake of electric vehicles in the OECD. New sales of electric vehicles in all of the nations to which we usually compare ourselves, is running at 10 to 15 times the EV car sales here in Australia. We're also the only OECD nation that does not have mandatory fuel efficiency standards, which means that not only is pollution skyrocketing on our roads, but Australian motorists are paying hundreds and hundreds of dollars at the bowser every year that motorists in other OECD countries simply aren't paying because of the fuel efficiency of those vehicles.
So today's announcement gives Australian voters a clear choice. Australian voters are making clear that they want action on climate change. They've seen yet another angry summer. They've seen all the scientific advice that says if we don't start to take action, our children our grandchildren and generations beyond will be exposed to very dangerous levels of climate change that will severely impact the natural environment but also their living standards, and today the Labor Party is giving Australian voters that choice.
SHORTEN: Thanks Mark. As I said, Mark and my team are happy to take questions - I might start over here and I'll just come around.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, tomorrow's the Budget - there'll be about $15 billion or thereabouts in fuel excise in there, with EVs, they obviously don't use fuel, are you happy to see the take from the fuel excise go down or will Labor consider some sort road usage charge in the future?
SHORTEN: Listen, we're not touching the fuel excise but we do need to talk about an electric vehicle future don't we. For me, when I look at electric vehicles maybe 10 years ago I would have thought, oh that seems all a bit fantastic but I'm certainly a convert to that being a part of our automotive and climate future. It's estimated by the experts that by 2030 there will be three million electric vehicles on Australian roads.
So the question is what we are going to do to help make it more convenient for people to move to that market. There's no doubt in my mind that the cost of living savings with electric vehicles is real. The question is what, if you know what the future looks like, good leading governments start designing in the present to help make us best equipped to be able to benefit from the future.
I'm bullish about EVs for the jobs, for the local manufacturing opportunities, for the climate impact and also I think because of, it'll create technology and I'm going to get Anthony to supplement, it will create technology in Australia which we can then export. That charging station you looked at made in Queensland and it's being exported around the world.
So I am very optimistic about what we can do here.
SHORTEN: Well, I'm going to get Anthony to supplement him but before we start some government campaign about you know for every new idea is a bad idea. I think instead what we need to do is, do we want to be a country stuck in the past or a country joining the rest of the world in the future. I know Australians agree with me. They actually want us to move forward in considered ways but Anthony.
ALBANESE: There are some people in the Coalition do recognise what the future looks like and that's why Paul Fletcher announced in 2016 an inquiry into road user charges. I have put forward on behalf of the Labor Party two different people to form representation on that committee. It was viewed that there would be an eminent Australian appointed to chair it, that's up to the government to say who that was and then two people, one nominated by Labor, one nominated by the Coalition in order to have a bipartisan way forward. Guess what, the reason why you haven't seen that committee report is that it hasn't even been formed.
We've had to put up two separate people because one person was waiting for 18 months ringing me once a month saying what's happening to the committee that I was being - that I was going to be appointed on. Since then there have been three Infrastructure Ministers, three or four people in charge of urban infrastructure. This is a government that recognised some of them, Paul Fletcher recognises something of what the future looks like, but aren't capable of even making baby steps forward.
So perhaps your question should be directed to Paul Fletcher, or Angus Taylor, or Jamie Briggs or any of the other Ministers in the government who recognise that we need to deal with this issue and have been incapable of even forming a committee. People know what is happening in the rest of the world. There is no major car manufacturer anywhere in the world that is undertaking research into internal combustion engines. The whole of the world is moving forward. This government is stuck because they're incapable of doing that basic function of government.
JOURNALIST: Why not ban petrol vehicles then, the NRMAs are calling for that today, there are lots of European countries have done it, the NRMA wants it as soon as 2025. Why not just take that step and really drive the change?
SHORTEN: Well, we think that this is an overdue first step. I am not going to start saying I am going to ban vehicles. What we are going to though is introduce proper emission standards in consultation with industry. Did you know we're the only country in the OECD that doesn't have a proper emission standards and all we're proposing is to look at the adopting the American standards which aren't even as onerous as the EU.
What you'll get with my government, if I get elected is sensible change. What we will do is look at what is the rest of the world doing and then see what works for us. But what we won't do is keep scaring Australians that the world is too hard, the future's too difficult and that climate change is nothing that we can have an impact on. Mark?
JOURNALIST: The cost of that change Mr Shorten, now we have the final, I guess it's the final component of your climate policy. What is the total cost to the economy, what's the impact on GDP growth. What will the impact be on electricity prices. What will the impost be on business? Four parts.
SHORTEN: Four parts, I'll try and remember your four part question. I might get Mark to supplement.
First of all, what is the cost of not taking action on climate change? It is huge. It was estimated that last year $18 billion was the cost of some of the extreme weather events we've been having in insurance and property values, in damage in lost production. There is a huge opportunity cost when we don't take action. We're confident by the sensible evidence-based, pragmatic and consultative policies we're putting forward that we can protect traditional jobs in steel, in cement, in aluminium, industries I've spent my working life representing blue-collar workers in. I am confident that with our fund to work with emissions intensive trade exposed sectors like that we can make sure that the changes for them are done in a way which protects those jobs.
But I'm ambitious for new jobs in Australia. I don't want us just to be a job of financial service vendors or casualised, part time workers. I want us to have full time jobs in renewable energy. We've got the best scientists in the world so why on earth aren't we translating that to value added manufacturing.
We've got some of the best resources of lithium in the world. We can put together, in Australia we have all of the parts for a lithium battery, so why can't we be a nation who says we want to step up and have more manufacturing jobs. I'm very - in terms of electricity we see that under this current government. Even in the last three years since they got elected the second time round, the price has gone up 20 percent.
I don't know if it was you Mark, or someone wryly observed yesterday, it was observed yesterday that this $1.45 a week for pensioners, for a one-off payment total of 75 bucks.
It's like a very small refund for their failure to do anything on energy policy in the last three years. I have no doubt that we will put downward pressure on energy prices. I might get Mark to supplement more about some of the economic growth argument.
JOURNALIST: Thanks Bill, well what's become increasingly clear here and around the world is that the old link between emissions growth and GDP growth has been broken by a whole range of technological innovations. The most authoritative modelling of the two emissions reduction targets, ours of 45 percent which was based on advice from the Climate Change Authority and Tony Abbott's of 26 was conducted for then Prime Minister Abbott himself and what that modelling showed from Warwick McKibbin, he said that under both targets over the course of the 2020s' real GDP growth will be around 23 percent. If anything energy costs under our target will be lower because there'll be much bigger drive into energy efficiency and there'll be a substantial positive impact on job creating investment under our policy as well.
So there is no difference in real GDP growth over the course of the 2020s'. The difference though is that we're taking action consistent with expert advice about what is necessary to keep global warming below 2 degrees and minimising that damages build for future generations. On energy prices again it's been very clear on all of the modelling. That a substantial energy policy like the National Energy Guarantee will actually cut bills by $550 for all households, not just for those who might get the cheque under this election bribe announced yesterday. But for all households expanding renewable energy will put downward pressure on wholesale power prices, which will be lower under our target according to all modelling than under the much less ambitious target of the government's.
And finally, in the vehicles area, we know on the Government's own modelling under Malcolm Turnbull's own modelling of fuel efficiency standards that motorists will save $500 per year at the bowser if we just bring our fuel efficiency standards into line with Americans. At the moment Australian motorists are paying the price for the Coalition party room's inability to agree on something as basic as making our vehicle fleet more efficient.
JOURNALIST: The 250 big business polluters that you expecting to have to buy carbon credits, how many of those credits are you expecting that they will have to buy and how much would that cost?
BUTLER: Well what we've announced today is that we will work with the government's safeguards mechanism, so there is no new policy. We're working with a mechanism that was introduced by Malcolm Turnbull and has been operating under Scott - sorry?
JOURNALIST: There's a new impact though -
BUTLER: -No, no there's not. There's a new target applied to it which will actually make sure that it does the work that big industrial polluters need to do to contribute to the national goal of bringing down emissions. But there's no difference to the way in which the mechanism currently works. Last year for example, big industry polluters or big industrials had to surrender about 450, 000 carbon offsets. That's under Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison's plan and that's the plan that we're going forward with as well. Now we've said after hearing the calls from business that they would prefer to work with the government's existing mechanism. We've said that we would work with them, if elected in May, on the trajectories between now and 2030 on the way in which baselines would operate for individual sectors and individuals companies, on the arrangements that would apply for emissions intensive trade exposed industries - and we've heard their calls that those arrangements should be based on a comparative impacts basis which has been something they've been very strong on. And as I said earlier, we've also heard their calls that they want access again to international carbon markets, which inexplicably, Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison have cut off. I mean Australian business is able to trade in every other robust credible market on the planet. Why are they not allowed to trade in international carbon markets? The Liberal Party has not been able to explain that.
JOURNALIST: But can’t you say before the election what the impact will be on steel makers and aluminium smelters in Australia? Why can't you say before the election what will happen to them?
BUTLER: Well what they're going to do is they're going to be required, as the current mechanism is supposed to require them, to reduce their emissions -
JOURNALIST: By a lot more though -
BUTLER: - how much they're able to do that requires detailed discussion and experience over the next 10 years.
JOURNALIST: You want to reduce emissions by 45 per cent or by -
BUTLER: The overall industrial sector is going to have a target of reducing their emissions by 45 per cent on 2005 levels -
JOURNALIST: So what does it mean for a steel - what does it mean for the steel maker?
BUTLER: Let me finish, David. And what we've said is that we will work with individual sectors to make sure that their baselines are appropriate sector by sector. We've also said that we would put in place a $300 million strategic industries fund that will work with industries, particularly the strategically critical industries like steel, aluminium, cement and suchlike, to chart a path to a low carbon future - as is happening all around the world. In all of the economies around the world that want to make sure that steel, aluminium and cement are able to continue as a critically important part of their economy while reducing their carbon emissions.
JOURNALIST: That's a guarantee? We will still have existing steel and aluminium makers in Australia?
SHORTEN: Yes, David. I can't guarantee what companies make their you know, other decisions unrelated to this. But I've spent longer than I think most people in Canberra, working with the steel industry. I've seen the job losses which have happened when you've got poor investment decisions and you got a lack of government support. But I also know that what the steel industry wants - and there's two large steel makers in Australia - what they want is policy certainty. I know the companies that you are asking about rhetorically. They are sick and tired of the Coalition chaos. They are sick and tired of having three Liberal Prime Ministers, 13 different energy policies. They know that they've got to compete globally. The extension of the safeguards mechanism isn't a big issue for them because they're already covered by Malcolm Turnbull's, I should add. And what we've done, unlike the current Government, is we're providing a $300 million fund to help work with them.
Big industry is so far ahead of the Coalition Government, it's not funny. And you must speak to some of these people privately. They know that reducing greenhouse gases, getting carbon pollution under control - they know it has to happen. What amazes them is that you've got such a dysfunctional Government that as soon as you mention the word 'climate change' in the Coalition, they rush out the back to have a civil war.
Sorry I did say we would go this way so I'll start up there and come back to you, Katharine.
JOURNALIST: Can I ask, with the electric vehicles, logic tells you that would put pressure on baseload power in this country (inaudible). Do you have any discernible idea of what that may be and whether or not you will need a fair more amount of coal in the future?
SHORTEN: Okay, I'll let Mark answer that.
BUTLER: What you'll see now in our policy announcement today is a target for 50 per cent of new sales by 2030 to be electric vehicles and we'd see that, you know, trending up over the course of the 2020s. The electricity sector agencies, like the market operator for example and our big electricity companies, are already very across this issue. This is an issue that is being dealt with by countries all around the world, to deal with the impact on the electricity grid. Now in Australia, if anything it's likely to be less than other countries because of our extraordinary levels of rooftop solar. So a whole lot of the purchases of electric vehicle will be plugging their vehicles straight into their own micro-generation on top of their roof, probably with a battery as well. So I'm very confident having talked to electricity sector agencies, companies here in Australia and looking at overseas experience that this is entirely manageable.
JOURNALIST: (Inaudible) carbon credits for Kazakhstan. What controls, quality control do you have over those international (inaudible)?
BUTLER: I'm not quite sure whether Scott Morrison or Malcolm Turnbull read the Paris Climate Agreement they signed this nation up to. But in the Paris Climate Agreement, there is a market for carbon credits established that we are proposing Australian business have access to - both as a purchaser and a seller. There are enormous opportunities for Australian carbon offsets, particularly from the land sector, to be sold into this market which is going to have huge demand from big emitters like China. So this is a market that Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull signed Australia up to. It is obviously a market that is going to have to be credible and robust and all Australian governments, Liberal and Labor alike, will be watching that. But they have not answered the question: Why can Australian business trade in every other robust international market except a carbon market? And the only conclusion you can draw is the Coalition allergy to anything that involves the word carbon.
JOURNALIST: On the vehicle emission standards, you're going to put the onus on car dealers rather than the manufacturers to meet them. How will that sort of work in practicality? Will it be a case of dealers having to keep paperwork and if I'm going to go and buy a Land Cruiser, will the dealer tell me no, I've got to sell you a Prius because of government regulation? And secondly, Mr Shorten on tax - on the budget. If the Government wants to get its tax cuts through Parliament this week, will you support that?
SHORTEN: Listen, if you want to buy a Land Cruiser, you still should. That's up to you. But I'll get Anthony to answer the rest of the issue and then I'll come back on tax cuts.
ALBANESE: What we're doing on emissions standards is moving to the U.S. standard which is 105 grams of CO2 per kilometre. That is not onerous. What that does is just move us into the world. The whole world has emission standards except for Australia. And guess what? Manufacturers are way, way ahead of this Government. That's the point. Have a talk to Mitsubishi, or Toyota, or BMW, or SAAB, or any of - Hyundai - have a look at and talk to any of the world's producers and what they will tell you is that they are advancing into the future while Australia is just left behind.
And what we also will do with this policy is have an opportunity for Australian manufacturers. We just saw the plug in over there in the car park, whereby the generator there is produced and manufactured here. Science produced the idea here, it's being manufactured here, it's being exported. There is opportunity by embracing the future. What there is, is just cost if we're left behind. And I repeat what Bill has said, that at the moment, Australian drivers are paying $500 dollars more per year than they should be because of this Government's failure to have any emission standards.
SHORTEN: Sorry, you're next - Katharine and then you.
Will we vote for tax cuts that we haven't seen this week? Depends what they are. But I also want to put on record, we've already got bigger, fairer tax cuts for nearly 10 million working Australians. Last year, the Government offered people $500 up to $90,000 income. What we did, because of the serious economic reforms we're making; winding back unsustainable tax treatment of some classes of investment, what we're able to do is already offer people who earn up to $90,000, nearly a thousand dollars in refunds. So in the first three years of a Labor Government if we get elected, married couple, one on $65,000, the other on $90,000. They're going to get nearly $6,000 back. So my first question when I look at the budget, is the Government going to match our tax cuts? And then we'll have a look at what they're proposing.
But another thing, let's call it what it is tomorrow night: What new idea is this Government going to do in the next six weeks that they couldn't do in the last six years? This is not an economic document, it's a political leaflet by a Government asking you to forget the last six years of division and disunity, and they’ve magicked up the money and it's all going to be forgotten with all the bad things and the disunity of three Prime Ministers and 13 energy policies. So yeah, sure. We're attending tomorrow night but I think like many Australians, the scepticism level is high.
Sorry, Katharine and then over here.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, the reason we don't have a vehicle standard in Australia at the moment is in part because powerful interest groups have prevented one from being implemented for the best part of 15 years. Your policy is not clear about when the new vehicle emission standard is set to take effect. Also you are in terms of industrial pollution you're saying you've got a 45 per cent emissions reduction target but you're going to consult with businesses about their baselines and trajectories. Agriculture is out of these curves all together, can Labor guarantee that you'll be able to deliver a 45 per cent economy wide drop in emissions by 2030 given that your own policy is heavily caveated at this point. And also, ahead of the election, would you as the Government has done, release a carbon budget so that Australians are aware what level of abatement you are factoring in in each sector of the economy. The Government has done it, will Labor do it?
SHORTEN: Alright, Mark is very keen to answer your question, Katharine so I will defer.
BUTLER: I think it's very generous of you Katharine to say that the Government has released a carbon budget frankly. There are a few bar graphs that say maybe there will be technological innovation here and then there's Kyoto carry-overs there. Well, the numbers don't mean much frankly, they're attached to meaningless columns.
JOURNALIST: Will you produce meaningful numbers then?
BUTLER: What we've done is produce the most comprehensive climate change action plan before a federal election that has ever been released here. It has gone sector by sector with policies that either set specific targets in the case of the energy sector and the big industrial sector or a range of policies to drive down pollution tapping into technological innovations like the vehicle sector. Now, going to your point, there are some details that business would not want an Opposition or expect an Opposition to finalise from Opposition. There are some details about the way in which baselines are set, emissions intensive trade exposed arrangements for example that are best settled in government if we were to win the election with the resource of the agencies and the ability to sit down with business in a proper engagement process. But what we've said is clear, is the basic policy framework, for example for the industrial sector and the emissions reduction target that will apply to that. In the area of fuel efficiency standards for vehicles what we've also said is that we will sit down with industry and automobile associations to put in place a proper phase in period for those standards to get as Anthony said, to the 105g standard that is the target in America and will do that on the basis of maximising the savings to motorists there. Now, there was a Climate Change Authority report as you'd know that was delivered to this Government in their first year of office that had a phase in time-frame to get to the American fleet standard but it was supposed to have started two years ago so obviously we can't just simply pick up a report and wind the clock back two years, we've got to think about a phase in time-frame that recognises we've lost five years here because of the Government's inaction, chaos and division.
SHORTEN: Hang on, I did promise you next.
JOURNALIST: Actually that was covered off on that question but actually on the land sector, so there's no target for agriculture? You don't know anything about the compliance for companies under the safeguard mechanism so how are you going to drive the purchase of abatement from the carbon and land sector?
SHORTEN: Alright, we're very bullish about carbon farming initiatives, we do thing Ag has a role to play but we're going to do it with them, we're not going to do it against them but I'll get Mark to speak further.
BUTLER: What the land sector and the big industrial sector have both said to us is that the carbon farming initiative which was a failed Labor Government initiative needs reinvigoration. All of the budget was cut from research and development into new methods of cutting farm pollution by Tony Abbott so for five years this is a sector which has had no money going into research and development for new methods of cutting farm pollution. We'll reinstate $40 million to find new methods of cutting farm pollution for farmers, for traditional owners, particularly in the north of the continent and for the forestry industry. That's exactly what they've asked for and the big industrial polluters who need to tap into this market have asked for as well. We've also said that we would put in place protections that safeguard the land mark reforms around broad scale land clearing over the last two decades in Queensland and New South Wales to provide that baseline protection for our remnant vegetation and high value regrowth. That will be based on the Queensland reforms that were just put in place by the Palaczszuk Government, so no additional reform for Queensland per say, but spreading those best practice reforms across the country. And then finally in the agriculture sector, we'll work with sectors like the meat and livestock association who already have a commitment for their sector which is responsible for the majority of agricultural emissions for their sector to be carbon neutral by 2030, this Government has not gone near them since that industry made that commitment. We will put in place a $2 million fund to build a strategy to deliver on that commitment.
SHORTEN: Hang on, we've been going a fair while here, I've kept a count of the questions, there has been 20, admittedly four of them from Mark and five from Speersy. I want to hear from a couple of people who haven't spoken. I know, this is the way we want to do it.
JOURNALIST: Is it fair that farmers have to pay for the rehabilitation of that land in those clearing laws you mentioned?
BUTLER: These are a landmark reforms put in place by Labor Governments lead by Peter Beattie and Anna Bligh in Queensland and Bob Carr in NSW during the Howard Government. Because John Howard recognised that the only way to meet our first commitment in the Kyoto Protocol period was to bring an end to the broad scale clearing of remnant vegetation and high value regrowth. So these are land mark reforms that have been put in place that were paid for under government structural adjustment packages over the last two decades and we simply want to safeguard, we simply want a safeguard.
JOURNALIST: But the question is whether it's fair that the farmers have to be responsible for that or whether the Government should subsidise them to clear their land.
BUTLER: Well I'm not sure whether I quite understand that question. I mean, the land clearing regulations have been in place now for a couple of decades. They are reforms that need to be protected so that everyone has an understanding of what the baseline is. Because without a baseline you cannot build a robust credible carbon farming market that will open up a whole range of new income streams for farmers, for the forestry industry and for traditional owners. Drought proof income that will allow them to the source that income and remediate their landscape in the meantime. But to do that you need to have credibility around broad scale land clearance.
JOURNALIST: Has Labor done any modelling on the impact of this policy on the price of vehicles and particularly the price of Australia's two most popular vehicles the Ford Ranger and the Toyota HiLux? And has there been any modelling also on the availability of vehicles? Will people be able to buy the vehicles they want at the price they're currently paying?
SHORTEN: Well first of all, until you get a government who is committed to introducing electric vehicles into Australia, some of the cheaper models which are manufactured overseas won't be available here. We're going to change that, it's called the laws of supply and demand. And what we're going to do is create a market, a market for vehicles which are more fuel efficient, which are more friendly to the environment and it'll take time, it'll take time. But remember back in 2007, only about 7,000 households had solar rooftop. No doubt, that if you'd been there someone might have asked the question well you know will that be too expensive or can it be done. 2 million households are there now. The question I've got is and someone asked earlier about is it fair, is it fair that because the Coalition is so dysfunctional on climate change we hand on a dud deal to our kids? How far is it, that we push off all the tough issues, push off all the reforms to other generations to clean up our mess? Labor doesn't take that. This climate change policy is a point of real difference. Labor is not retreating from the inevitable onslaught of the knuckle draggers of the right wing of the Coalition. I'm not like Malcolm Turnbull, they can't give me orders. My orders I take are from the Australian people. You know, if the Government were worried about climate change, Malcolm Turnbull would still be Prime Minister. We are pleased that climate is an election issue. We are pleased that we are actually backing in some of our international commitments. We are pleased with a policy which will protect existing industries but support the creation of new industries. We are pleased that we can reduce the cost of living through energy bills by investing in renewables. We are pleased with the take up in the future of electric vehicles. Tomorrow won't see a vast change in the type of cars on the roads. But if we assemble here in a decade's time if we are successful at the next election, our car fleet will look different and it will be more accessible and there will be more jobs. So, very good to see you all, we'll see you again tomorrow and the next day and the next day. But climate change for Labor is a matter of first order importance, we put forward our policies, we look forward to debating the Government because the voters of Australia want real action on climate change from their major political parties and we're offering that today.