Interview with Tom Elliott 3AW, Melbourne


25 June 2019


TOM ELLIOTT: Our next guest is the Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction. Angus Taylor, good afternoon.

ANGUS TAYLOR: Thanks for having me, Tom.

TOM ELLIOTT: Are you worried about this report that the State Government might close Yallourn by 2025?

ANGUS TAYLOR: Yes, yes, absolutely. I mean, they've put out a report, or they commissioned a report, which is looking at a 60 per cent emission reduction target for Victoria. Now put this in perspective, Labor took a 45 per cent emission reduction target to the last election. It was a reckless target, and of course it was rejected by the Australian people. And that 60 per cent target would mean bringing forward the closure of Yallourn. Now what we've seen from this Victorian Government is a complete failure to recognise that if you're going to rely more on renewables, you've got to back it up, you've got to have backup and storage. You've got to have a solution for when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine, and they haven't had that. So what's crucial now, Tom, is the Andrews Government immediately clarify what its position is to prevent uncertainty for all the people working at Yallourn, but also for every household, small business, and person working in the industry in Victoria.

TOM ELLIOTT: Yeah, I don't know if you were here in Victoria over the weekend, but in Melbourne, both Saturday and Sunday, we hardly saw the sun at all. There was that much fog around. And the fog was obviously sitting where it was, over the city because there was no wind either. So, if we had to rely upon solar and/or wind, we would have been stuffed.

ANGUS TAYLOR: Well, we've already seen this. I mean, when the Victorian Government pushed Hazelwood to shut, we saw a sharp increase in prices for electricity driven by that. But we also saw, last summer, the outcome of that is that it's a struggle now to keep the lights on, and the reason is there was no plan to deal with the situation where the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing. And of course, when the sun goes down, you've got a problem; let alone when you have a cold day, as you rightly point out.

TOM ELLIOTT: Okay, so- I mean, you're the Energy Minister for the Federal Government; this is a State issue. Is there anything you can directly do about it?

ANGUS TAYLOR: Well first of all, we've got to actually get the Government to clarify what its position is. So that's the first point, which is what I'm calling for today. They need to lay out what their plan is. Now, what we are also doing, and have done, is in December, we put very important reforms through, which mean that there'll need to be back up and storage if there's an increased emphasis on unreliable power. And so, the Victorian Government is well aware of that. But they need a plan, Tom. And we're going to push them very hard on this. If they want to close more coal-fired power stations prematurely, they need to have a plan to deal with this. They haven't had it in the past and the people of Victoria have paid for it.

TOM ELLIOTT: Thank you, Angus Taylor, Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction.

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction