Australia news live updates: Anthony Albanese announces ‘enhanced’ climate target; Matt Kean ‘cautiously optimistic’ energy crisis is easing | Australia news




Kean says he is ‘cautiously optimistic’ energy crisis is easing

Sticking with Matt Kean for a moment, he was just fronting a press conference in NSW, where he said he was “cautiously optimistic” the energy crisis will ease in the state today.

Kean said he had been informed yesterday afternoon that a generator at the Bayswater strength stop wasn’t going to come online, leading to calls from the government for consumers to reduce their usage:

I can inform the public that that generator will be coming online tonight so supply conditions will ease – that is the outlook so we’re cautiously optimistic that everything will be fine for the foreseeable future.

But we are monitoring the situation closely because of the changed weather conditions and the unreliability of our existing equipment.

Updated at 19.34 EDT

Albanese has continued, first criticising the past government for its inaction over almost a decade, and pointing out the sustain this move has among business representatives:

When I’ve spoken with international leaders in the last few weeks, they have all welcomed Australia’s changed position. Our changed position of 43%, up by 17 to 15%, from the 26 to 28% target has remained there since Tony Abbott determined it in 2015.

Scott Morrison went to the Glasgow conference last year and gave an empty speech to an empty room with no changed position. We saw a pamphlet released by a former government instead of a policy framework and we continued to see arguments already during the election campaign about the science of climate change, let alone the need to act.

What today demonstrated with the presence of the Australian industry group, the Business Council of Australia, the clean energy council, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Australian Council of Trade Unions and others who couldn’t make it because the chair and heads of the NFF are overseas, but they sustain the policy in addition, is an opportunity that Australia has to end the climate wars.

Albanese announces “enhanced” climate target

chief Minister Anthony Albanese has stepped up for a media conference, saying he has written to the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to convey Australia’s “enhanced” 2030 target.

This is done. We announced last December what our policy framework would be. At the time we released the most comprehensive modelling of any policy by any opposition since federation. What we didn’t do was set a target and then work out how to get there.

What we did was work out what good policy looked like, and it happened to come out with a 43% target by 2030. What businesses have been crying out for is investment certainty.

University of Melbourne establishes $115m research funds

Donna LuDonna Lu

The University of Melbourne has announced it will establish two investment funds totalling $115m for research commercialisation.

A $100 million fund, a joint venture between the university and investment firm Tanarra Capital, will sustain “the scaleup, growth and impact of exceptional University of Melbourne-affiliated start-ups from seed stage by exit”.

A separate $15 million pre-seed fund, launched in conjunction with the state-owned company Breakthrough Victoria, will focus on early-stage research and new technologies.
Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas said in a statement:

“Victorian researchers and innovators rule the world in so many areas, and we’re making sure they have the best chance to turn great ideas into great businesses.

The pre-seed fund has opened for expressions of interest from people who are interested in forming start-ups. The fund is set to open to University of Melbourne students and alumni later in the year.

Perrottet says he will be raising migration with PM as staff shortages bite

NSW premier Dominic Perrottet faced the media earlier this morning and was asked how exactly the state government expects to fill staff shortages in the education sector before it implements its expanded childcare program.

He pointed to migration as a possible solution, noting that borders have been closed for about two years and that, with unemployment below 4%, Australia should look overseas to fill its staff shortages:

There is no doubt we have a challenge right across our state, right across our country, with staff shortages.

Everywhere we go right now there are challenges that come with having an unemployment rate below 4%.

We’ve had our borders closed for two years, and we need to be looking at new ways of attracting people into the country. The commonwealth has an important role to play here. I’ll be raising this with the chief minister this evening.

We’ve had our borders closed for two years and we need the commonwealth Department of Home Affairs to be processing applications for people to come into this country. And at the moment the wait is too long.

There is a major backlog with visa applications that need to be processed by the commonwealth government.

Updated at 19.52 EDT

Childcare overhaul will be ‘profound’, Andrews says

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has unveiled his government’s $9bn package to overhaul childcare, saying the changes are long overdue and will be “profound”

Andrews said the current childcare system was holding back working people, especially women, and that the changes his government has hypothesizedv, including offering a “pre-prep” year for free, would free up parents:

You’re not so much working for your family, as you’re working for the Australian tax office. It can truly cost you money to go back to work beyond, say, two or three days per week.

That doesn’t make any sense. That’s holding families back, particularly holding women back.

It’s fantastic for parents, particularly mums, being able to get back into the workforce or study or do in any case it is they choose to do.

At the moment there isn’t that choice. Mums are denied that choice, more often than not, so it is about economic strength, it’s about independence, it’s about making a complete and meaningful contribution if you choose to do that in the workforce.

Updated at 19.50 EDT

Kean says he is ‘cautiously optimistic’ energy crisis is easing

Sticking with Matt Kean for a moment, he was just fronting a press conference in NSW, where he said he was “cautiously optimistic” the energy crisis will ease in the state today.

Kean said he had been informed yesterday afternoon that a generator at the Bayswater strength stop wasn’t going to come online, leading to calls from the government for consumers to reduce their usage:

I can inform the public that that generator will be coming online tonight so supply conditions will ease – that is the outlook so we’re cautiously optimistic that everything will be fine for the foreseeable future.

But we are monitoring the situation closely because of the changed weather conditions and the unreliability of our existing equipment.

Updated at 19.34 EDT

NSW treasurer and energy minister Matt Kean has refused to clarify if Origin Energy made an offer to keep Eraring strength stop open longer or to sell the plant to the NSW government last July.

Kean was on 2GB this morning and was pressed on the issue, but refused to provide further details:

Let me be very clear. We include in good-faith discussion with companies like Origin. We consider a number of options.

We considered a number of scenarios that were put to us. When we consider a range of scenarios … we consider the cost. We do so in a way that weighs up in the best interests for taxpayers and for electricity.

I always take responsibility, but let’s be very clear. I didn’t move into Ukraine. I didn’t make the generators [into] old equipment and I certainly didn’t make the weather cold.

So I’ll take responsibility for making sure that we’re doing everything possible to keep the lights on and prices as low as possible.

Updated at 19.28 EDT

Josh Butler

PM and energy ministers to give press conference

Further to Daniel Hurst’s update this morning on the federal government’s signing ceremony of the 43% emissions reduction potential, Anthony Albanese will keep up a press conference in Canberra at 9.50am today.

He’ll be joined by the minister and assistant minister for climate change and energy, Chris Bowen and Jenny McAllister. We imagine they might get a associate of questions about energy.

Updated at 19.24 EDT

Victoria records 22 Covid deaths and 7,889 new situations

Victoria has reported 7,889 new Covid situations and 22 deaths overnight:

Updated at 19.17 EDT

NSW records 17 Covid deaths and 9,117 new situations

NSW has recorded 9,117 new Covid situations and 17 deaths.

COVID-19 update – Thursday 16 June 2022

In the 24-hour reporting period to 4pm yesterday:

– 96.5% of people aged 16+ have had one measure of a COVID-19 vaccine
– 95% of people aged 16+ have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine pic.twitter.com/INwDXUqBmb

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) June 15, 2022

Updated at 19.14 EDT

Formula One to keep in Melbourne for 10 years

And in breaking news this morning, Formula One has announced that Melbourne will continue hosting the Australian grand prix for 10 more years.

And in a first, F2 and F3 will also join the the Melbourne undercard from next season.

The contract with the Victorian government was due to expire in 2025, with NSW interested in poaching the race, but the deal has put to bed any changes.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said the Melbourne race had been a “favourite”:

The race has always been a favourite for the fans, drivers and the teams and Melbourne is an incredible and vibrant international city that is a perfect match for our sport.

This year we saw huge crowds and passionate fans at the grand prix, and we are very excited by the future in Australia as our sport continues to grow.

Updated at 19.03 EDT

Some things are bigger than state boundaries.

Giving kids the very best start in life is one of them.

We’re joining with NSW to start the biggest ever reform to early education.

It’ll be better for kids, cheaper for families, and give women more choice about returning to work. pic.twitter.com/ZVBR3BQNuE

— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) June 15, 2022

Lambie labels energy crisis ‘disgraceful’

Independent senator Jacqui Lambie is urging the Albanese government to step up and resolve the energy crisis, which she described as “disgraceful”.

Tasmanian senator Jacqui LambieTasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Lambie was on Sky News this morning, and said while there was no “quick fix” to the issue, energy providers were holding Australians to “ransom”:

We’ve got to a point now where these corporations, who don’t pay their tax either, [are] holding us for ransom.

Quite frankly we need to keep [our assets] in Australian hands and if that method in government hands … well, that’s what we need to do to make sure we stay online over the next 20 to 30 years.

We’ve got to do something and need to put this country first. It’s not something we can sit on the fence with either.

Updated at 18.54 EDT

Melissa DaveyMelissa Davey

Doctors call for say in planning for disasters

The Australian Medical Association has released an updated position statement on the role of doctors in disasters, calling for specialist and frontline doctors to be included in planning for disasters. The AMA also wants those doctors to be involved in emergency management meetings.

AMA president Dr Omar Khorshid said the statement considered the ethical conflict doctors confront in allocating limited medical resources in a disaster zone, and the dilemma doctors who are government medical advisers may be confronted with:

These doctors may experience dilemmas when the government’s political view and the broader public health perspective on a particular aspect of disaster response are not aligned.

Khorshid said a particularly confronting challenge in a disaster was the allocation of life-sustaining resources which “may include decisions not to actively treat gravely-injured individuals who cannot be saved in the specific circumstances of time and place in order to treat others who can be saved”.

The position statement highlights the major medical specialized values and ethical principles that should guide doctors in the confront of those ethical challenges.

The position statement comes after the experience of doctors in the bushfire and flood catastrophes and amid the continuing pandemic.

Updated at 18.52 EDT

Australian Energy Council chief welcomes Aemo intervention

Australian Energy Council chief executive Sarah McNamara says electricity generators have welcomed the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (Aemo) intervention in the market on Wednesday night.

McNamara was on ABC News Breakfast this morning, and said the current energy crisis was due to a combination of global issues, include the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in addition as several Australian strength plants needing unscheduled maintenance.

The situation was becoming difficult for the market operator to co-ordinate, so we were pleased and supportive of the market operator’s decision to step in and start controlling the market for the next few days.

It is truly a system that has performed extremely well since it was set up back in 1998.

Australians have experienced very little in the way of reliability concerns by that time.

The system is truly continuing to work well. It is just under a lot of strain at the moment. But people should be assured that the market operator and all of the industry players are on the same page in terms of being committed to bringing enough supply online to keep the lights on and to manage the price shocks.

Australia paying for years of inaction, energy minister says

Chris Bowen has been making the media rounds this morning and has also appeared on the Today show, where he said the “system is creaking”.

Bowen emphasised the age of coal strength plants, adding that Australia was paying for years of inaction:

There are many coal-powered stop outages, which is putting huge pressure on the system in NSW.

Some are expected and some unexpected – unexpected breakdowns at coal-fired strength stations, which is unavoidable as the coal-powered fire stations get older. And we haven’t seen the investment in replaceable energy and storage – nowhere near the amount we need.

Energy minister Chris BowenEnergy minister Chris Bowen. Photograph: Dan Himbrechts/AAP

He said he was confident blackouts could be avoided but the situation was “tight”:

NSW is the state that’s the tightest today, and we’re all working to avoid any load shedding, if at all possible this evening; this evening is where the crunch comes.

I want to make this point: at its heart, it’s a problem caused by coal-fired strength stop closures and outages, some expected maintenance, some delayed maintenance from Covid, and some old equipment. We need the new investment. That’s what our policies do and that’s what we will deliver.

Updated at 18.49 EDT



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