Source: Australian Labor Party (ALP)
TUESDAY, 22 JANUARY 2019
SUBJECT/S: Labor’s Queensland Jobs Not Cuts bus tour; Labor’s National Hydrogen Plan; Liberal candidate for Gilmore, Clive Palmer, Morrison’s replica vessel
ZAC BEERS, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR FLYNN: Okay, thanks everyone for coming along. It’s great to be hear in Gladstone today and I want to welcome a number of special guests to our region. Today we’ve got Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk here with us along with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and a big crew from the Labor team. We’ve got Jason Clare, Brendan O’Connor, Pat Conroy. I’d also like to acknowledge Glenn Butcher the state member who’s here with us today and Matt Burnett, Gladstone’s Mayor.
Look today we’ve got a fantastic announcement about the future of energy and the future of jobs in this region. Today Labor’s announcing a massive commitment to the hydrogen industry, an industry that will grow into the future and create thousands of jobs for people right across Australia provided we get in front of it and that’s what today is all about.
Today is about putting our stake in the ground and saying Gladstone will be the hub for hydrogen into the future, Gladstone will be where we make hydrogen, where we export hydrogen and where we power the world. Today’s announcement is about delivering important investment into critical infrastructure like the Hydrogen Innovation Hub which will be based here in Gladstone to make sure that we research the technology to get the commercialisation right in partnership with industry, to make certain that when hydrogen gets off the ground, it gets off the ground in Gladstone and in a big way. Because we understand that in this region jobs are vital and it’s important that we diversify our economy and make sure that we’re powering the future. Today’s announcement will do just that and I’ll hand to Bill to talk a little bit more about what we’re announcing today.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Great candidate, Zac Beers. I acknowledge the presence of my federal Labor colleagues and of course Australia’s favourite Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. I’d like to thank our hosts here at Northern Oil Recycling. This is a really exciting announcement today.
Today Federal Labor is saying it’s about time that Australia entered the hydrogen race. We have a vision for Australia in the future which is one where hydrogen is one of our energy sources and one of our great exports. It’s the equivalent dare I say of LNG 2.0 and we want to make Queensland and Gladstone ground zero for hydrogen technology in this nation.
Our policy today is about jobs, jobs, jobs, secure jobs, in Gladstone, in Queensland and indeed across Australia. Our vision for hydrogen as an emerging source of energy means that we will commit if elected, over a billion dollars to fund research, equity, to make sure that our projects in Australia can scale up. Hydrogen is an emerging and exciting source of energy across the world. By 2020 Japan has already set a target that they want to have 40,000 electric vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells. South Korea too and Hyundai are making similar commitments right now. It’s estimated by experts there’ll be two billion electric vehicles by 2045. Two billion. Half of these vehicles will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
Australia is at a crossroads, you know it’s even the well-known local identity and head of the Gladstone Ports Corporation Leo Zussino on one of my many visits here to Gladstone, alerted me to the possibilities of Gladstone being a hub for energy and hydrogen energy. But when you think about the future, we need to prepare for it and Australia is it that crossroads.
Do we just business as usual? Wait till some other country has a good idea, some other country decides to develop it and research it, some other country decides to pioneer and manufacturing new energy sources and we just remain yet again some sort of distant quarry. Well that’s not the vision I have for a modern Australia.
This industry is estimated that when it’s going, generate ten billion dollars a year, 16,000 jobs. I want Australia and Queensland to be at the front of the hydrogen revolution not behind it. I want us to catch the wave of the future and invest in technology which the whole world desperately wants. It’s very exciting, what we see at this very facility is the use of the best Australian science, Australian entrepreneurialism. Our policy today of a National Hydrogen Strategy I think demonstrates the sort of government we will be. We will identify a benefit for the Australian people, we will take a long term lasting position. And we’ll also be courageous in the fact that we’ll back it in.
I’ve got no doubt that there’ll be some who will say we should ignore hydrogen until someone else has the good idea. Well that’s not my view of Australia. This country needs to grasp its opportunities. We need to add value. This is worth billions of dollars and even more than that, it’s jobs, jobs, jobs, secure jobs for Queenslanders and for Australians.
Now it’s my great pleasure to hand over to one of the most innovative leaders in Australian politics, Annastacia Palaszczuk to talk further about this exciting vision for Queensland, for Australia using the hydrogen revolution.
ANNASTACIA PALASZCZUK, PREMIER OF QUEENSLAND: Thanks Bill and thanks for coming to Gladstone today. From the outset can I say when you are talking about long term secure jobs you need to be pursuing the industries of the future. It was a Labor Government that actually talked about the LNG industry and we delivered an LNG industry for Queensland. Hydrogen is the next big industry, for not just Queensland but Australia. It means long term secure jobs. As Premier and Trade Minister, I’ve travelled to South Korea and Japan, I’ve met with the leading experts when it comes to advancing this new technology. Hydrogen is it. Hydrogen is something that Germany, South Korea and Japan are actively pursuing. When I was in South Korea, I was able to drive the hydrogen car. These cars are the future of what’s coming. And we can either ignore it or we can become part of this secure future. So this is a great announcement today from Bill Shorten. And what I get from Bill is the great vision to be able to work with Queensland to deliver these long term secure jobs.
As we know, Queensland is a very decentralised state and our regions are absolutely crucial. This will play a key role in developing jobs here in Gladstone and up and down the coast. Already, the Tokyo Minister for the Olympics has said to me that they looking at powering vessels in time for the Tokyo Olympics and they want Queensland and Australia to be part of that hydrogen future. So as we know, we did it with LNG and we can definitely do it with hydrogen. So Bill thank you very much for coming to Queensland and I look forward to working with you now and many days into the future.
SHORTEN: I and my Federal team are happy to take questions, I should acknowledge the work that Assistant Shadow Minister Pat Conroy has done on this work too. Open for questions.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, what do you make of Matt Canavan’s comments this morning that this is just a distraction from your abandonment of Central Queensland’s coal industry?
SHORTEN: Poor old government ministers at the moment. Why is it that when there’s a good idea, they immediately react with the lowest common denominator of attacking it. Hydrogen is an energy source of the future. I would have thought if you were a Queensland Senator you’d be backing Queensland rather than standing in the path of Queensland and Australia’s progress. If we miss the hydrogen wave then future generations of Australians won’t thank us. This summer, one of the problems which people identified to me about Australian politics is, they say where’s the vision. What’s the over the horizon thinking? I’m completely bullish and positive about our national hydrogen announcement. It’s an emerging source of energy. Industrial powerhouses like Japan are gearing their whole economy to hydrogen. This is not science fiction. Maybe 10 and 20 and 30 years ago it would have just been called a pipe dream. But the problem is that Mr Canavan is not reading the latest scientific journals. He’s not following what’s happening overseas. We have got a marvellous opportunity to invest in jobs, to invest in the future of Australia through investing in hydrogen and technology. When the Government ministers come out and bag Labor’s vision for the future, it speaks volumes for their lack of respect for Australian science, their lack of respect for Australian entrepreneurialism and the biggest problem underwriting that is we have a Government who has run out of ideas. They want to write Australia small, they want to say that the future’s too hard and pull up the drawbridge, let’s not worry about it, let’s wait and watch the world go past us. Well I’m not prepared to do that. Queensland and Annastacia Palaszczuk have put Queensland in a very positive position. The investors behind this company have backed in their dream and their view about the future by investing their own money in this business. What Australians desperately need, blue collar workers, designers, white collar workers, entrepreneurs, small businesses, communities such as Gladstone, you need a government in Canberra who’s got some courage. So as I said in my opening, I’ve got no doubt that the knockers will emerge, say hydrogen is too hard, we shouldn’t worry about the future. We, I promise Australians will be a different sort of government. We’ll listen to the best science, we’ll listen to the smartest business people, we’ll back in Australian ingenuity, we’ll work with the council, the local community and we’ll work with the Queensland Government. So Mr Canavan can throw all the bricks he wants. I’m not waiting for the LNP to join the 21st century, we’re getting on with business.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten how concerned are you about the revised growth forecasts from the IMF and from China and what can you say to reassure Australians who were worried that a Shorten Government might not be the best government to manage an economy in some global, in the midst of global trouble?
SHORTEN: Well actually Australians didn’t need the IMF to tell them that our economy is fairly mediocre at the moment. There’s some bright spots, but for too many Australians our economy isn’t delivering the dividends. Most Australians actually like our plan. Our plan for better hospitals, not bigger tax loopholes. Our plan for better schools, not profits automatically for big banks. Our plans for a better deal for pensioners not simply more and richer billionaires.
This economy is not working the way it should right now after five and a half years of Coalition mismanagement. Australian families are spending more of their household incomes just to make ends meet. We’ve got an economy where everything is going up except people’s wages. I can assure you for ten million working Aussies – people in insecure employment, people who haven’t had a pay rise for years – they already know that things aren’t going the way they should, and we can reassure Australians we’ve got a plan to lift wages. We’ve got a plan to give fair dinkum tax relief to ten million working Aussies. We’ll make sure that when you get sick you can afford to see the doctor and you can get quality health care. I promise working Australians I’ll make sure your kids get a quality apprenticeship, they’ll get a quality education. If they want to find an apprenticeship we’ll help them find one.
I can say to older Australians who feel left behind by this government because, if they’re on the aged care waiting list, we will reduce those waiting lists. The trick to making our economy robust in a global environment, is to make sure that you bring people with you.
If most Australians, if all Australians can get a fair go, if they can get access to opportunity, that is the best insurance Australia has for global shocks.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, what do you make of Clive Palmer taking his business in New Zealand and does it lead credence to Tony Abbott’s suggestion that people should vote for a major party, any major party over an independent?
SHORTEN: So I made a promise to myself in the New Year, a New Year’s resolution about Clive Palmer. Until he pays the workers what he owes them, until he pays the creditors what he owes them, until he repays the taxpayers what he owes them, I don’t talk about Clive Palmer.
With Clive Palmer I’ve learned the hard way. Always identify what his self-interest is before you take anything else seriously about what he says. So that’s seriously enough about Clive Palmer we’ve got better things to talk about.
But going to Mr Abbott’s point, I very rarely find myself agreeing with Tony Abbott but he’s right. Don’t vote independent, vote Labor.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten can I ask you just about the two separate issues. First one – how quickly would this come on stream and to be actually in a position to export hydrogen and would those jobs be ongoing jobs? What sort of jobs would they be? And on a completely separate issue, is spending several million dollars having the replica Endeavour circumnavigate Australia a good way of commemorating Captain Cook, who didn’t do it?
JOURNALIST: What I’ll do is, I might give Pat a run on the issues about the implementation. Suffice to say, if we get elected, we’ll get down to work day one. I promise Australians that when we get in, we’re not going to review everything and then come back at the end of three years and say “well we’ve checked everything out.”
We’re going to be an active government. We can roll out our mandate from day one, but let me get Pat to talk further about the mechanics of what we’re doing, our equity proposition, our research proposition, and our financing proposition to help businesses scale up in this exciting, dynamic, new frontier of energy and jobs in Australia.
PAT CONROY: Thanks Bill. So on when can we start exporting hydrogen, Southern Oils behind us have announced that they’re planning in the next couple of years to be exporting hydrogen. So the opportunity is right now, and it’s only going to get bigger. By 2022 the global market will be worth $215 billion dollars, and it’ll just scale up and and scale up and scale up.
So our plan is about supporting this industry from RND, through $90 million from ARENA, taking concessional equity where it makes sense, through $40 million for the innovation fund to a billion dollars to help scale up the industry through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
And on what sort of jobs they are, they’re from research and development, to scientists, to engineers, to storing the hydrogen after you’ve produced it, to transporting it overseas and ships the equivalent of the LNG carriers right now. So this is the equivalent of the LNG industry coming back for a second time and it’s very exciting opportunity for Australia.
We’re in direct competition with countries like Norway and Qatar that are investing serious dollars right now and that’s why we need to leapfrog them.
SHORTEN: Thanks Pat. On Mr Morrison’s replica vessel, let me just say I appreciate that Captain Cook’s landing on the Australian Queensland coastline is a matter of great importance to the people in Cooktown, indeed to the people of 1770 and Agnes Water. I know that for example the Queensland Government of Premier Palaszczuk put forward a quarter of a million dollars to help with some of these commemorations. So that’s good and it’s a replica vessel trip around Australia, that sounds very nice in 2020/21. Good.
But let me also be clear. I’m here today announcing the future for Australia – a national hydrogen policy, 16,000 jobs, $10 billion dollars worth of investment.
Now I think we’ve got to respect our history and what happened in 1770 but I’m also interested in what happens in Australia in 2070. We’re planning for the future here today. The best scientific minds in Australia tell us that hydrogen is an exciting new source of energy. The smartest business people in Australia say that we can, if the government gives support, plan for the long term and invest in jobs in Gladstone, Queensland and Australia.
I take an interest in making sure that I can offer future generations of Australians the best planning a government can do now. If Japan is investing a lot of its industrial investment in hydrogen and hydrogen fuel cells to power motor vehicles, I’m interested. I’m interested.
I don’t want Australia to miss another opportunity. I don’t want us to see another wave of change. We’ve wasted 10 years on climate change because this country can’t get its act together at the national level. I know that Australians are sick and tired of a lack of vision in Australian politics – well, we’re giving them vision. We’re giving them vision today in national hydrogen policy.
I also just make the point that Mr Morrison’s had a lot to say about Australia Day. It’s part of a conservative rite of passage that you talk about your views on Australia Day. Well one thing I think about Australia Day is it should represent Australian values, and there is no stronger Australian value than fairness. And it is not fair when everything is going up in Australia except people’s wages. It is not fair when households are struggling to pay for the return to school costs and dipping into household savings because there’s no wages movement. It is not fair in Australia, if you’ve got parents who are waiting to get aged care support, or your child can’t get an apprenticeship, or your kids have got to leave regional Queensland to go to Brisbane to get a job. So if we’re going to talk about Australia Day, in my opinion nothing can be fairer than having a fair dinkum wages policy and a fair dinkum platform which looks after the health and education of Australians not just some of the things which the Conservatives delight in talking about.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten what are your thoughts on Warren Mundine running for the Liberal seat of Gilmore?
SHORTEN: Well, he was unsuccessful in the Labor Party, so, it’s a free country you can run for whatever party’ll have you. But I do make this point about the seat of Gilmore. The Liberal Party replaced a woman with a man, and a man and wants support nuclear reactors into Australia, including Jervis Bay. I just don’t think they get how everyday Australians think.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, I’ve got a question about –
SHORTEN: I did say – perhaps a local question?
JOURNALIST: With the $3 million innovation hub for hydrogen and how can you guarantee that this policy will secure local jobs?
SHORTEN: Well, I’ll get Pat to supplement this. But on the innovation hub for Gladstone, you know I’ve been favourably impressed in my frequent visits to Gladstone, that the Gladstone community is a community who doesn’t wait for things to happen, that they drive their future. When I was a union rep I came up here and saw the construction of new facilities. This is much more than a one trick town. The Mayor is here, Glenn is here, Zac is here, these are local boys bred and raised.
I understand that the history of Gladstone has been to invest in new and emerging industries. So you know what? Gladstone has done the hard work. They deserve an innovation centre, a Centre of Excellence.
Gladstone is also very fortunate that they’ve got such a dynamic Premier as Premier Palaszczuk. She doesn’t wait for every other state to work out what’s going on and then get their permission. She just goes for it for Queensland. Queenslanders are smart, they back themselves, we are backing the smarts of Queensland by putting the innovation centre not in Canberra, but in Gladstone. You know congratulations again to Leo and the crew down in the Ports Corporation who have done a fair bit of work and indeed Zac Beers who’s always at us to make sure that whatever we have planned for Australia, remember there’s Gladstone, it’s the port way to the world.
Thanks everybody. See you soon.