28 March 2019
WILL GOODINGS: The Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor is in town with an announcement for regional Australia and joins us on the line now. Minister, good morning to you.
ANGUS TAYLOR: Morning Will and David.
DAVID PENBERTHY: Hey Minister, before we get down to brass tacks with your actual announcement, can we get your thoughts, because we're talking to Tim Fisher, who along with the Liberal Party elder statesman John Howard, obviously the architect of the '96 gun laws that have kept Australia safe. What's your reaction as a Minister of the Crown to this latest video from Pauline Hanson that's emerged overnight where she seems to be theorising as to whether the Port Arthur attacks were some sort of conspiracy.
ANGUS TAYLOR: Look, I think it's appalling the whole thing, both videos are shockers. The truth of the matter is that our gun laws have been very, very successful. They're well accepted across the community and they have served us extremely well over an extended period of time. And look, talking to the earlier video, the idea that a lobbyist in another country should exert influence over our gun laws, I mean, I think for most Australians that's completely abhorrent.
DAVID PENBERTHY: Absolutely.
WILL GOODINGS: So Minister, tell us about this announcement today. Will it be regional towns or just areas that will be able to switch off from the electricity grid?
ANGUS TAYLOR: Yeah. Look it's both. So there's particularly focussed on regional towns who struggle with being remote and distant from the electricity grid and that causes a whole series of problems that can raise costs, it can result in black outs. We've just seen overnight, Kangaroo Island has had black outs, we've had load shedding. So this is $50 million focussed on getting a plan together so that a remote regional community can essentially go off grid. So whether it's Cooper Basin or Coober Pedy or Kangaroo Island, they're the sort of places where there's an opportunity to do this. We know it's a big opportunity, we've seen lots of these around Australia and $50 million to get the work done. Generally these communities don't have the money to easily just go and do it, they need expertise brought in. And with technologies evolving the way they are now, this can be done relatively quickly and cheaply and it's good for everybody.
WILL GOODINGS: How will the fund actually be accessed, Minister?
ANGUS TAYLOR: Look, it'll be through a request or a proposal. So they'll come forward and say - look, we think we can do it in this town or this region. They'll put together a sketch of a proposal, but the money is there really to flesh it out. So whether it uses solar and batteries or it uses other technologies, it's technology neutral, but it is designed to allow them to get their electricity costs down and maintain reliability which is all important in a lot of these regional communities because they do not only have households, often they'll have businesses that are very dependent on a reliable energy supply.
DAVID PENBERTHY: It sounds like a good idea, particularly with a lot of very small and remote towns in communities here in South Australia. Angus Taylor, Energy Minister, thanks very much for joining us this morning.
ANGUS TAYLOR: Thank you.