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Christine's comments on transport in carbon pricing

Senator Milne's press conference on Friday lasted a 30 mins, covered a great deal of detail on the carbon price statement, how the process works, the level of a carbon price, the level and design of compensation, offsets, green carbon, nuclear power, how agriculture will be counted, what Christine might personally do to change her behaviour after a carbon price is introduced and more.

21 minutes and 14 seconds into the press conference, transport is first mentioned in response to a direct question from a journalist.

Christine: "I think it's important that transport is included. Transport is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and if you want transformation in the economy then you have to cover as many sectors as possible and also you get your cheapest abatement by having the broadest possible coverage. And this has to be budget neutral as you will have noticed from the principles that we put in."

Follow up question (from The Australian journalist): "So you'd like people to pay more for petrol and diesel, Senator?"

Christine: "My view is it would be fantastic to have really good public transport in Australia. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have very fast trains, wouldn't it be great to have a decent metro system in Melbourne and Sydney, wouldn't it be great to have electric cars, wouldn't it be great to redesign our cities so that people are less car-dependent and they're healthier and happier at the same time, and experience better air quality. They are the questions that need to be asked and that's what people want. If you want to get transformation and innovation, you only get it by transferring to the technologies that are low carbon and that's where we're coming from in this scenario to make sure we drive that kind of innovation in Australia."

Qn: "So you're signalling that petrol will be included?"

Christine: "Well, the transport sector is.."

QN interrupting: "When you say the transport sector, you're talking freight or people's ordinary cars?"

Christine: "At the moment, we have a high-level document which says that transport is included in the coverage. As you will have heard the Minister say yesterday, there is still - and we haven't this discussion, so to say that there's still debate, we haven't started the debate yet - on what he calls phasing, and I'm assuming that he means by that the point at which certain parts of any of those sectors come in. That's a matter for discussion. But the Greens argued very clearly under the CPRS that we thought that transport should be in and that transport should be covered, so petrol would have been covered under our previous scenario because we want to see that transformation. But this is a negotiation and we haven't even started that discussion."

Qn (Another Australian journalist): "Senator, do you think that householders should be fully compensated for rises in petrol prices?"

Christine: "... I'm not prepared to discuss that because it hasn't been discussed and we're still formulating a view."

...

QN (1st Australian journalist): "Senator, by flagging higher petrol prices, you give Tony Abbott ammunition to essentially scare people, to run a scare campaign that this is a bad idea? Do you accept that the Greens will have to compromise on some of these issues so as to achieve the main goal which is getting a price on carbon?"

Christine: "We've said all along we are going to compromise..."

Qn (2nd Australian journalist): "Will part of the negotiations be to get some of the revenue from a carbon tax towards building metro, fast trains..."

Christine: "I think that would be a fantastic idea but that would be my view and it's not something that we've even discussed. But all these things are on the table and that's what I talk about when I talk about transformation and the possibilities. As the Prime Minister said yesterday, this process opens up all kinds of possibilities..."

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