Australian Prime Minister Radio interview – 4BC Breakfast

Prime Minister

Anthony Albanese, our Prime Minister, will declare his support for Queensland’s $62 billion energy and jobs plan, cementing the theme of the Federal Government’s upcoming Budget. And we happen to have the man himself on the phone this morning. Good morning, Prime Minister.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: G’day. Good to be with you again. Beautiful day here in Brisbane, I’ve got to say.

HOST: Isn’t it stunning?

HOST: It’s always beautiful here, Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER: It usually is. I’ve got to say, Queensland certainly has fantastic weather.

HOST: Well, we do have a lot of sunshine, which is a lot to do with this plan that you’ve been talking about, basically. What is it?

PRIME MINISTER: That’s exactly right. Well, it’s a future made in Australia. Harnessing the resources that we have. We know that there is a global race on for jobs and opportunity. And Australia needs to be in it to win it. And no state is better positioned than Queensland. You have these extraordinary solar resources in the sky that can produce, of course, green hydrogen, which can then produce green aluminium out of Gladstone, you have enormous resources under the ground as well. Copper and vanadium and lithium and other products that will power the global economy in this century. And this is about us seizing those opportunities for new industries and new jobs. Australia being able to stand on our own two feet. And having the courage to go forward in Australia’s national interest. And I really think that Queensland, of all states, along with WA, are ideally positioned to really benefit from this in the future.

HOST: Well, I think we all agree we do want a cleaner planet moving forward, but Jeff Dimery, the from energy, it was about two years ago that he said it would cost about $8 billion to hypothetically replace their brown coal-fired power station, the Loy Yang B, with pumped hydro and offshore wind. But he said these days that would be closer to $10 billion. Where is this money going to come from?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, what we know is that the transition is underway. And it’s a global transition. Coal-fired power stations are reaching the end of their life. So, we need to do more than sit back and wring our hands, which is what the former Government did, pretend that it wasn’t happening, have feasibility studies for a new coal-fired power plant in Collinsville that didn’t go anywhere at all. That’s a waste of money. What we need to do is to actually invest in things that can happen and will happen and are happening. And that’s where the investment in areas like the electrolysers that were launched in Gladstone just this week, where new hydro, new renewable energy, new production of green hydrogen in order to power advanced manufacturing is a real opportunity for a massive economic benefit here in Queensland for new jobs, manufacturing more things here. And we want to build the infrastructure and the clean energy to power new growth and to train Australians for these new jobs. We have the opportunity to compete with the world and to win this race. But if we sit back and just pretend it’s not happening, as happened under the lost decade of the former Government, then we won’t get anywhere. We’ll watch the world move past us. So, we’re in it to win this race. And I know that Queensland is well positioned because of the resources that you have, the fact that Queensland’s the most regional of all the Australian states as well. We have in recent times launched exciting projects in Gladstone and Townsville and other places. And I think that today we’re outlining a vision at the Queensland Media Club for that future made in Australia, of which Queensland will be front and centre.

HOST: Well, Prime Minister, that’s future made Australia. Onto other issues. Queensland’s Labor’s Government’s best practice industry conditions policy, dubbed the CFMEU tax, has been slammed for adding up to 30 per cent to the cost of all major infrastructure projects, blowing the budgets out by billions of dollars. Now, whether it’s Olympics or road and rail, your Government is co-funding these projects. Do you support this tax and will your Government continue to guarantee funding?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, we support infrastructure here in Queensland. And we also support good wages and conditions. We think they should be appropriately negotiated out. But we have seen in recent times a rise in real wages across the board. We think that adds to economic prosperity. We don’t want people to be left behind. We did have low wage growth was a feature, a key feature of the economic architecture, as the former Government said, and we don’t think that was appropriate. But we think people should be appropriately paid for jobs that they do and that there should be, as well, important health and other conditions attached to work.

HOST: Prime Minister, we could have you virtually all morning talking about things, Palestinian statehood, future made Australia, as you mentioned. But, Laurel, you’ve got the most important question.

HOST: It’s far more serious about this and we know that you’re privy to top secret information. Prime Minister, what’s happening with the Rabbitohs?

PRIME MINISTER: Look, it’s been a tough beginning to the season, hasn’t it?

HOST: Come on, you know something, surely.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, Jason Demetriou is a fine coach. And we hope that we turn the season around. I went to the Warriors game last Saturday. It certainly was not our finest performance. But we are starting to get players back. Young Monroe on the wing is coming back on Saturday night against the Sharks. And I’m sure that we will turn it around.

HOST: I understand that Jason Demetriou is definitely one of those people interested in future jobs, so he will be listening to you today.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, I hope he keeps his current job and I wish him all the best. And, you know, if you’re a Souths fan, we went 43 years between beers, so, you know, ’71 to 2014, so we know what tough times are like.

HOST: Sounds like the Labor Party under Menzies.

PRIME MINISTER: We stick. Or up here under Joh, that I don’t think anyone sees as a golden era. But we turn things around just as the Labor Party in Queensland turned it around.

HOST: Beautifully turned around.

HOST: Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, thank you so much for your time this morning.

PRIME MINISTER: Thanks very much, guys.

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