First of all – what is the cost of not taking action on climate change? It is huge. It was estimated that last year $18bn is the cost of the extreme weather events we’ve been having in insurance, in 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’m confident that with our fund to work with emissions intensive trade 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 … financial service vendors or casualised part time workers. I want us to have full-time jobs in renewable energy. We have the best scientists in the world, so why on earth aren’t we adding that to value-added manufacturing? We have 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 that says we want to step up and have more manufacturing jobs?
In terms of electricity, we see that under this current government, even in the last three years since they got elected the second time around, the price has gone up 20%. I don’t know if it was you, Mark [Butler], or someone observed yesterday, who observed yesterday, that this $1.45 a week for pensioners, a one-off payment, a total of $75.
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.