28 March 2019
ALI CLARKE: Good morning Minister for Energy, Angus Taylor.
ANGUS TAYLOR: Good morning Ali, thanks for having me.
ALI CLARKE: Now we know you are on time constraints, so we apologise. Can you outline this idea where your Government, if they get back in, will promise more affordable and reliable energy for regional areas.
ANGUS TAYLOR: Yeah so we've made two announcements today and in the last couple of days - they're of relevance to South Australia and regional South Australia in particular. One is a $50 million commitment to micro-grids which is separate grids, if you like, in regional and remote areas to allow them to get more reliable and affordable power when they're right on the edge of the grid. This is a real problem for remote communities and places like Ceduna, it's a challenge for Coober Pedy, they've been dealing with it, Kangaroo Island, there's a range of different communities in South Australia that have been struggling with this. One of the solutions is to have very expensive transmission lines to those communities. Often a better alternative is to have their own micro-grid which is separate from the network.
DAVID BEVAN: So how do you get some of this money to explore whether this is an option for you?
ANGUS TAYLOR: You apply to the Government. So we'll be putting- we'll be running a process and they'll be able to apply. We also already now are actively talking to many communities around Australia for whom this is well suited and we're very keen to keep those discussions going so we've got candidate projects that can get up and running as fast as possible. This is a great opportunity because new technologies are making this possible in a way it wasn't in the past.
ALI CLARKE: Of the $50 million, how much though do you actually have earmarked for South Australia?
ANGUS TAYLOR: Well there's no earmarking for any particular location. I would say though that South Australia is particularly well suited to this because you do have a lot of remote communities, there's long distances between where the generators are in many cases, where the main network is and those communities. So it is extremely well suited to it and we're very enthusiastic about supporting some of these communities to get good affordable, reliable micro-grids in place.
ALI CLARKE: So I'm presuming that remoteness will be one of the boxes that need to be ticked?
ANGUS TAYLOR: Sure.
ALI CLARKE: How else could people and what else to they need to actually prove that they should use this and be able to access this?
ANGUS TAYLOR: Well that ultimately it can work. Look, if they've already got a very good grid solution that's probably not where we want to go. But on the other hand if they've struggled with it, if they've had black outs, if there's affordability problems, if there's a transmission line that would need to be upgraded, that obviously makes it much more of a priority. But it'll just depend on the circumstances. But as I say, that just the geographical layout of South Australia is such that this is a very good place for us to be building a micro-grid.
DAVID BEVAN: Now Angus Taylor, you wouldn't be well known in South Australia; you represent the Seat of Hume which is west of Sydney, that's correct.
ANGUS TAYLOR: Yes. Regional seat, west of Sydney.
DAVID BEVAN: Which is a regional seat. How will you be dealing, you personally be dealing with One Nation? Will you put them last on your how to vote card?
ANGUS TAYLOR: Well we haven't made any decision on this. I don't even know if I have a One Nation candidate running against me, I certainly don't yet. So it's all-
DAVID BEVAN: Well you didn't at the last election I think.
ANGUS TAYLOR: It's very premature, well yes. But no one has put their hand up at this election. I don't know who's going to be running against me. There's lots of competition for who to put last in an election, I've got to be frank with you. And so this is a very- it's a speculative conversation in my seat at the moment and look, at the end of the day, I think we should all, and I certainly do, condemn the comments that were made by- and the activities we've seen from One Nation in recent days. I mean the notion of a foreign lobby group influencing our democracy is absolutely abhorrent and...
DAVID BEVAN: But is it time to-
ANGUS TAYLOR: Unacceptable to me.
DAVID BEVAN: Is it time for your party to move on from this issue? Just come out and say it: look, unless something even more extraordinary happens, we will put One Nation last.
ANGUS TAYLOR: Well I don't even know that-
DAVID BEVAN: Because this issue been fet- this issue's been festering for days and weeks now. So why don't you just deal with it and say look we'll put them last unless something even worse comes along?
ANGUS TAYLOR: Well I don't even know who the candidates are so let’s be...
DAVID BEVAN: I'm talking about your Party generally now.
ANGUS TAYLOR: Look there are no shortage of people who are potential candidates to go last on a ticket. I mean Fraser Anning hasn't covered himself in glory in recent times and who knows where he's going next. Look they're - this is, this is a premature discussion other than to say, make a very important point which is that the behaviour we have seen in recent days - we've seen this from other people too, attempts to influence our democracy from outside of our country, that's why we banned foreign donations, completely unacceptable and we should all condemn it.
ALI CLARKE: Minister for Energy Angus Taylor, thank you for your time.
ANGUS TAYLOR: Thanks for having me.