Decarbonising Australia Business Summit: Partnering with Japan on the Transition to Net Zero
Keynote address, University of Technology, Sydney
I'd like to start by acknowledging the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation, the traditional owners of the land on which we meet today. And I pay my respect to their elders past and present.
I extend that respect to any First Nations people in the audience today.
I'd like to thank Consul-General of Japan in Sydney Mr Tokuda and the President of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Sydney Mr Sumida for their attendance today. You are both very welcome.
I'd also like to thank our attendees and speakers from Japan and around Australia for joining us, and the University of Technology, Sydney for hosting this important Summit.
It is great to see business leaders coming together to explore decarbonisation opportunities and to collaborate on viable projects.
To echo what the Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell said in his welcome address, this Summit aims to further the Albanese Government's key objectives to strengthen Australia's long-standing trade and investment partnership with Japan, and to take urgent action to accelerate the transition to net zero.
Cutting greenhouse gas emissions is the greatest collective challenge humankind has faced.
Decarbonisation of our industry and our energy system, while lowering cost and lifting living standards, is the defining action of our time.
It calls for a transformation of our economies. From the way we generate power to the way we produce and consume, and the way we move around.
And with this great transformation comes great opportunity, especially in the trade and investment space.
Our region, the Indo-Pacific, is the fastest growing region in human history.
Australia's commitment to net zero
The Albanese Government's strong action on climate change has put us back in line with the rest of the world.
We have lifted our emission reductions target to 43 per cent by 2030 and committed to net zero by 2050. This is now enshrined in law. A clear message to investors that Australia is irreversibly on the path to decarbonise our own economy.
We are supporting our commitments by delivering policies that empower Australian industry to decarbonise.
We are investing in research, innovation and skills to set us up as leaders in net zero technologies.
This includes our $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund, with $3 billion of this fund earmarked just for investment into renewables and low emissions technologies like green steel, hydrogen, solar panels and batteries.
And a $20 billion investment in Rewiring the Nation, creating new investment opportunities in cheaper renewables and long duration grid storage.
The US Inflation Reduction Act is one of the biggest pieces of economic policy in living memory.
It changes the landscape, fundamentally. It will speed up the pace of investment in clean energy in the US and the world.
Australia will ensure that we participate in this growth. Our bilateral relationship with the US will ensure Australia's participation demonstrates our commitments to include Australian industry in these opportunities.
Our domestic efforts to incentivise local adoption of clean technology – with a clear downpayment in the Budget of $2 billion for the Hydrogen Headstart program – and further commitments to come, demonstrate that Australia will not allow our competitive position in these areas to be undermined.
We are determined to ensure Australia delivers on its renewable energy superpower vision and potential.
Australia is now one of the most attractive markets for renewable energy investment.
We are poised to become a renewable energy superpower with our critical minerals, wind, hydrogen and solar industries powering the global clean-energy transition.
A new era of climate policy
The government's approach to climate and energy policy, put simply, is this: One, to reduce the emissions intensity of Australia's electricity system, households, transportation, and industry by investing in low-cost renewables and storage.
Two, to grasp this epochal opportunity to lower the cost of industrial production and rebuild our manufacturing, mining and clean energy industries, and to become a renewable energy superpower in our region and in the world.
Three, to take a leading place in global climate negotiations to push for more effective action to reduce global emissions, reduce fossil fuel consumption and stop catastrophic global heating.
Four, to support our trading partners in their own transition to net zero – including by being a reliable supplier of gas and coal.
Some of our political opponents on the right are obsessed with misguided culture wars while forests burn and cities flood and are determined to continue the destructive climate and energy politics that defined Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison.
That extremist politics is doomed to failure – it was the wrong policy and the wrong politics.
If Peter Dutton, Angus Taylor and David Littleproud want to continue to dig - be my guest.
The truth is that each of the four policy objectives I outlined relies upon the other.
Put aside the “politics” of all of this, there has been far too much politics and positioning for perceived electoral advantage.
At a policy level all of these objectives, for Australia, only make sense if pursued together.
We also know that a number of our bilateral partners, like Japan, rely on Australia's coal and gas exports to keep the lights on.
These fuels will continue to pay an important part while you transition your energy systems.
We want to walk with our partners in this transition.
With the Albanese Government, we have entered a new era of Australian climate policy.
An era of climate policy defined by information not ideology, ambition not ambivalence.
An era defined by partnership not division.
Australia and Japan bilateral relationship
It's great to see such strong attendance here today, many of you have travelled from Japan specifically for this Summit.
This is a testament to Japanese business' ongoing interest and commitment to the Australian market.
You just need to look at the significant contributions and investments many in this room have already made in Australia as evidence of this commitment.
Japan is one of Australia's closest friends and we share a Special Strategic Partnership. It is a partnership that is fundamental to both nations' strategic and economic interests, including a safe, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.
Not only is Japan Australia's second largest trading partner but it also ranks second for foreign investment.
The Australian Government, and the governments of every state and territory, see Japan as a vital partner in our shared net-zero future.
Decarbonisation is a new pillar of our bilateral relationship as we work together to transform our economies.
Our strong trade and investment relationship makes us natural partners to build future-focused industries that support the transition to net zero, create jobs and benefit both economies.
Our governments are working together to achieve this through the Japan-Australia Partnership on Decarbonisation through Technology. This decarbonisation partnership is increasing cooperation in a range of areas, including clean hydrogen and ammonia, and low emissions steel and iron ore.
It has helped to encouraged Japanese involvement in over 40 hydrogen and ammonia projects right across Australia.
Together, we have already achieved world firsts. The Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain Pilot Project in Victoria – backed by Japanese partners here today – delivered the world's first shipment of liquefied hydrogen on the amazing Suiso Frontier from Victoria to Kobe.
And Sumitomo and Rio Tinto have announced in July they will build a first-of-a-kind hydrogen plant in Gladstone as part of a A$111 million project to lower emissions in the aluminium refining process.
I have great optimism for future of hydrogen trade and cooperation between Australia and Japan.
The Australian-Japan Critical Minerals Partnership announced by the Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Minister Madeleine King will help to build secure critical minerals supply chains between Australia and Japan.
Austrade is working with Japanese businesses to help them invest in Australian net-zero projects to fuel the green economy. There are $3 billion projects and will create more than 6,000 jobs.
We are making good progress. But the Albanese Government has much bigger ambitions in this area.
As leaders in research and development, together, we have a unique opportunity to create low- and zero-emissions technologies that are not just commercially viable but globally scalable.
A good example of this is the Marubeni partnership with LAVO, who are working together on a multi-million-dollar hydrogen project, using Australian technology to store and transport green energy to be exported to Indonesia.
Summit and opportunities
And with over 500 delegates joining us over the next two days, it is obvious there is a strong commitment from our business and research communities to collaborate on new decarbonisation projects.
That's what makes the Summit so special. It is a unique opportunity to identify opportunities and strengthen collaboration.
It is an opportunity for businesses, research organisations and government to discuss commercial opportunities and policy on hydrogen, Carbon Capture and Storage, green steel, as well as sustainable aviation fuel and carbon farming.
Australia wants to be Japan's partner of choice in your own decarbonisation future.
We realise this is a highly competitive area around the world – with lots of other countries competing for the same investment and access to markets.
But we believe there are no two countries more able and more aligned to work on the opportunities for decarbonisation than Australia and Japan.
We hope today's discussions – and the program tomorrow – will help you get a strong sense of Australia's capabilities and our strengths, while also helping us learn from you.
The Albanese Government is focused on continuing to develop Australia's reputation as a safe and stable investment destination.
And we are committed to making decarbonisation a key part of the Australia-Japan trade and investment relationship, by working together on our shared vision for a transition to net zero.
Finally, I would like to thank our Japanese friends for travelling to Sydney, thank UTS for hosting the Summit and encourage you all to use this time to explore the unique opportunities we have to partner in the transition to net zero.
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