Sustainable Aviation Fuels Breakfast

Good morning and thank you for having me here today.

I begin by acknowledging the Gadigal of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the lands we are meeting on today.

I pay my respects to their Elders, past present and emerging.

I extend that respect to any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who are participating in this event.

I also thank Heidi Hauf for her kind introduction and thank her and the team at the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Alliance Australia New Zealand for putting on this morning’s event.

I also acknowledge the representatives here today from nations across our region and beyond. There are too many to name, but thank you for your participation.

As you know, Australians went to the polls in May and elected a new government determined to work across the economy and with industries to deliver a cleaner future and a better path to net zero.

If you want to see the Australian Government’s commitment to taking real action to tackle the global challenge of climate change and grow the future of energy in Australia, you just have to see our participation in the many events making up the Sydney Energy Forum.

In my view, even the Prime Minister making a serious and considered major address to a Forum like this marks a significant shift in the Government’s approach.

Today, I am delighted to be here today as the Minister with portfolio responsibilities which include aviation.

It is challenging time for aviation – you can see that in the queues at airports – but it is also exciting.

However, my ambition – and the ambition of our government – goes much further than simply a return to the pre-pandemic status quo.

My ambition is to embrace the opportunities that exist for sustainable future growth in the aviation sector, growing jobs and delivering a cleaner environment.

To set the scene for this growth, our Government intends to take a number of steps.

Firstly, we have already announced that we will deliver a new Aviation White Paper.

This paper will consider all aspects of the sector, but it will have a priority focus on how to maximise the sector’s contribution to achieving net zero carbon emissions.

In the more immediate term, my Department has already begun work on establishing a unit to work across government – and, importantly, with industry partners – to identify how best the government can work with the transport sector to play our part in achieving net zero.

I must say, it was one of the surprises of coming to government that there was no dedicated team working on climate change policy across the infrastructure and transport portfolios.

Over recent years, industry has raced ahead of government, and I know many of you are progressing your own initiatives.

Now, we are hurrying to catch up.

With transport being one of Australia’s largest sources of emissions, there is no time to waste.

This event – highlighting sustainable aviation fuels – gives hope to us all about what may be possible.

We know that industry is looking to sustainable aviation fuels to play a role in emissions reductions and we know the potential for sustainable aviation fuels is significant.

We also know that governments across the world are working closely with industry to drive new innovations in sustainable fuels and sustainable aviation.

The reality is – particularly in Australia – we love to fly, but we also need to fly.

I am sure most of you here, like me, spend more hours in the air than you care to count.

If we are to play our part, we need to make flying sustainable.

That is why – in addition to the aviation white paper and the departmental climate change unit – we intend to establish a group along the lines of the Jet Zero Council seen in the UK or the Council for Sustainable Aviation Fuels in Canada.

A step like this will be another example of our government’s commitment to advancing net-zero across the economy, as well as leading concrete action to cut emissions here and abroad.

By driving international competition and collaboration, we will drive innovation and progress across the world.

As a nation more dependent on aviation than almost any other, we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to drive change.

As a minister, I am determined to take on that challenge.

Our government, working with industry, to deliver sustainable aviation and grow jobs and innovation right here in Australia.

While our intent is clear, the way in which this change will be delivered is not.

I know that this challenge can only be overcome through collaboration, which is why I look forward to working with you on how we form this body and how we can best work towards net-zero flights from Melbourne to Sydney, the east coast to Perth, and Australia to the world.

Thank you very much for your time this morning.