I’d like to begin with a message for all of our Japanese friends here with us.
We’re all still in shock about the tragic death of your former prime minister, Abe Shinzo.
But for you, the shock must be all the greater.
His death is a profound loss for Japan – but also for the world.
He led a life of consequence and changed things for the better – in Japan, in our region and around the world.
I hope you can take some comfort from knowing that Australia stands with you in your time of grief.
We come together today in a time of great uncertainty.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities, and laid bare challenges that we cannot ignore.
There are many lessons we will all take from this experience.
But one of the most critical ones for me– is that we are stronger when we work together.
We are, for all our differences, one single human family.
And we all call this one fragile planet, home.
When we pause and reflect on this, we recognise our connection to one another.
We recognise that we have a common stake in each other.
And that the best way to meet the challenges in front of us is by finding common ground.
This is the message that I've carried with me.
And this is the message underscored here today.
The diversity and unity of purpose in this room makes it very clear.
All of you coming together, from across sectors and nations, because you understand our future is linked.
All of us here know what needs to be done.
The nature of the challenge is not in question. Its urgency and scope is clear.
The question is our ability and our appetite, to seize the opportunities it contains.
And to shape them in our common interests.
As Prime Minister, I am committed to renewing Australia’s standing in our region.
This work is underway, demonstrating our Government’s commitment that each action we take, each policy we pursue in this space, will be driven by a larger vision of our shared future.
A future with new clean-energy industries and jobs as its foundation.
Powered by renewable energy produced in Australia.
But the only way to build this future is to start with the realities of the present.
Russia’s brutal and illegal invasion of Ukraine is a terrible humanitarian tragedy.
It is a challenge to the international order on which our peace and stability are based.
And it is exacerbating global energy insecurity, impacting the supply and price of energy and reshaping energy markets.
Australia has not been immune from these developments, with high global prices from gas and coal — and the impact of severe weather on both demand for energy and supply of renewables — putting our National Energy Market under enormous strain.
Our Government has also inherited a challenging set of circumstances when it comes to climate and energy policy.
An electricity network designed for a different century.
New investment in clean energy had stalled.
A lack of investment in storage or transmission.
As a result, everyday Australians don’t just pay for their power, but for the cost of building and operating an outdated grid.
We have had no coherent energy policy for a decade.
It has left us missing out on the jobs, growth and opportunities that our abundant renewable resources could deliver.
And has left businesses and investors without the clarity and certainty they need.
But, as this Forum highlights, this is a new day.
It is a new era.
We need to act — and we will act.
We will lay a new foundation for sustainable growth and prosperity.
A foundation that will move us from an era of inaction and delay to one where we create new jobs, new industries and drive down emissions.
This is a matter of urgency.
But also optimism.
Because we know Australia has the workers, the resources and the capacity to become a renewable energy superpower.
And to support the region’s move toward a clean energy future with secure, reliable and resilient supply chains.
This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity.
And our Government’s policies are designed to seize that opportunity with the determination and resolve it demands.
My Government has already submitted a new, more ambitious 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
We’ve committed to reduce emissions to 43 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, putting Australia back on track to achieve net zero by 2050.
But our plan for tackling climate change encompasses so much more.
At its core it is a plan for economic reform and economic growth.
It will create 604,000 extra jobs, with five out of six new jobs to be created in regional Australia.
It will unlock $52 billion of private sector investment in Australian industries.
By the end of this decade, renewable energy will make up 82 per cent of our National Energy Market.
We will accelerate the decarbonisation of our electricity grid.
And we will allocate up to $3 billion for existing industries to adapt and new industries to grow, in areas such as batteries and energy storage; clean energy component manufacturing; hydrogen electrolysers; and fuel switching.
We see enormous potential in hydrogen, and Australia has all the ingredients needed to become both a major hydrogen producer and a global exporter.
We currently have over 70 hydrogen projects in the pipeline with over 91% of production planned to be green hydrogen.
And we also have plans to establish hydrogen refuelling infrastructure to support the next generation of heavy vehicles.
Similarly, we will establish our nation’s first National Electric Vehicle Strategy, make electric vehicles cheaper and double existing investment in electric vehicle charging.
We will create community batteries for shared storage and solar banks for households that can't install rooftop panels.
And we will create programs such as New Energy Apprenticeships and a New Energy Skills Program that will make sure Australians have the skills and training they need to work in this growing sector.
Crucially, we will work with business to drive emissions down predictably and gradually over time in the industrial sector.
And we will do so in a way that is consistent with reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
This is a plan to take Australia forward.
To create jobs, cut power bills and reduce emissions by boosting renewable energy.
And we will be transparent and held accountable as we progress our agenda.
When Parliament resumes at the end of this month, my Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen – who is here with us today and will be leading this Forum -- will introduce our Climate Change Bill.
It will seek to enshrine our targets into law, providing the certainty industry and investors need – in Australia and beyond.
And it will legislate a requirement for the Minister to report annually on progress in meeting our targets.
After decades of inertia, Australia is choosing action and innovation.
We have both the resolve and the expertise to take this on.
But we know that the best way to achieve our ambition is to work alongside friends and partners.
To take this journey together.
We are proud of our place in the Indo-Pacific.
Proud of the ties of friendship and cooperation that bind our countries together.
And few regions have more at stake, or more to gain, in meeting this challenge collectively than our own.
We are the fastest growing region in the world.
Home to more than half of planet’s population.
Nearly two-thirds of the world’s economy.
And more than 60 per cent of global energy supply.
But we also bear many of the burdens of climate change.
70 per cent of the world’s natural disasters occur in our region.
And, in 2019, over 90 million people in the Indo-Pacific were affected by climate-related disasters.
In Australia, we have experienced successive seasons of unprecedented bushfires and floods – again here in Sydney and its surrounding regions in the past week.
We all recognise the enormous challenges of this moment in history.
But while the task we face is great, if we act boldly and decisively, so is the opportunity.
The Indo-Pacific is the leading target for private investment in clean energy, accounting for nearly 80 per cent of global investment in 2021.
And this will only increase, because if the world is to reach net zero emissions by 2050, our investment in clean energy must more than triple.
Meeting this demand will require a renewable energy supply around six times greater than our region’s current annual solar and wind energy generation.
The numbers shouldn’t daunt us. They should energise us.
If we empower businesses, scientists, engineers, workers, and the private sector to work together across our region, we can unleash investment and innovation in clean energy at a scale we have never seen before.
And it gives us the impetus to push boundaries of science, technology, and imagination in pursuit of a better future for generations to come.
It is essential that the unprecedented levels of investment in clean energy technologies required over the coming decades unlocks more diverse and secure supply chains than we have today.
Greater diversity and security of critical minerals extraction and processing, greater diversity of clean technology manufacturing, and security of clean energy supply are essential for managing supply and strategic risks.
Together, we can ensure better access to affordable, reliable and secure clean energy right across the Indo Pacific, as we move to a net zero world.
Australia is eager and ready to do our part.
Our nation has a long, proud history as an established and reputable global energy exporter.
We have an abundance of the rare earths and critical minerals that will underpin new energy economies – such as aluminium, lithium, copper, cobalt and nickel.
And through our research and engineering endeavours we will continue to get the best of Australian ingenuity out into the global market.
And we are bringing all these components together for the benefit of our region and our world.
Take, for example, the Sun Cable’s Australia-Asia PowerLink project which aims to bring all these components together to export Australian solar energy from the Northern Territory to Singapore.
Or our national science agency’s innovative ‘UltraBattery’ which will soon power hybrid electric vehicles across North America.
Or the Asian Renewable Energy Hub, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, which has the potential to be one of the largest renewables and green hydrogen hubs in the world.
Our Government has also committed to do more — much more — with our regional and global partners.
Already, we’ve announced new climate finance and infrastructure partnerships to support and strengthen cooperation with our Pacific neighbours.
We will deepen our engagement with Southeast Asia and ASEAN as a priority.
And last month I announced a $200 million Climate and Infrastructure Partnership with Indonesia during my visit.
Climate change was also a focus of my first international engagements at the Quad Leaders’ Summit in Japan in May, the Major Economies Forum on Climate and Energy in June, and in my meetings with friends and allies during my recent visit to Europe.
And we’ve made great progress on a new and innovative Green Economy Agreement with Singapore to facilitate trade and investment in environmental goods and services, strengthen environmental governance, and help build global clean energy capacity.
My Government has also affirmed Australia’s commitment to the creation of a global coalition for blue carbon, and we’ve promised ongoing help to support blue carbon projects in the Pacific.
And I look forward to attending the Pacific Islands Forum, where I will discuss our proposal to co-host a UN climate summit with our Pacific partners, to elevate and prioritise issues which impact our region the most.
Australia will once again be a trusted global partner on climate action.
I am ambitious about what we can achieve together.
Our co-host, the International Energy Agency, has stated that 50 per cent of what we need for a zero emissions future is already at our disposal.
But the other 50 per cent will come from technology that is still under development.
Here at this Forum, we have a deep reservoir of ideas.
We need your inspiration and vision to forge the path forward.
The findings, information, and data presented by the world’s leading experts over the next two days will be invaluable to the work that lies ahead of us.
To achieve the scale, diversity and security of clean energy supply chains necessary for our collective emissions reduction goals.
To challenge convention, share ideas, and boldly imagine the future in an all-encompassing enterprise.
And to release a surge of creativity and innovation.
A surge that will shape actions and help inform other international efforts — including in the IEA, G20 and COP27.
When G7 leaders met last month, they discussed innovative ways to ensure an orderly, fair and equitable energy transition — including with partners in our region.
And when I meet G20 leaders in Bali in November — to discuss accelerating energy transitions globally — I will draw on this Forum’s discussions, particularly your views on energy security and the transformative role of clean energy technologies.
I firmly believe our willingness to work together on this issue will inspire greater ambition and action around the world.
This challenge demands our ambition.
And future generations need us to deliver on it.
Hosting this Forum on our shores underlines Australia’s commitment to confront this challenge.
It's a commitment shared by all of you and by all the nations you represent.
And it comes from a shared understanding that we owe all that we know and are to this one precious planet.
And that, together, we can accomplish so much more than we could ever do alone.
Our work, here and now, will determine the quality of life for future generations.
It won’t be easy.
Each step will bring its own challenges and we will need to learn and adjust our approach as science advances and technology evolves.
But I have no doubt that if we work tirelessly in common effort, we will achieve our common purpose.
Confident in the innovation and ingenuity at our disposal, let us create an enduring framework for a better future.
And an enduring legacy of the partnership between our Indo-Pacific nations.