Doorstop – Parliament House, Canberra

BARNABY JOYCE: One of the key reasons that the Nationals went into bat has become so clearly evident today. In Glasgow, they're talking about signing the pledge. We could all do that, but it wouldn't be about methane emissions for our nation. When they talk about a 30 per cent reduction on 2020 levels to 2030, 30 per cent reduction, what that would spell for the Australian beef industry is disaster. What that would spell for the Australian feedlot industry would be disaster. What that would spell for the dairy industry would be disaster. What that would spell for fugitive emissions in the mining industry, it would create massive problems. This is why the National Party insisted that methane emissions, especially in the livestock industry, most pronounced in the beef industry, had to be excluded. If we hadn't got these insurance policies in place, there would be farmers today who would be absolutely melting the phones down, because they'd be saying "that is my livelihood". The only way you can get your 30 per cent by 2030 reduction in methane on 2020 levels, would be to go and grab a rifle, go out and start shooting your cattle because it's just not possible. There is not the seaweed about, there's not the genetics about, it's just not there at the moment. To meet that target would have been a huge impost on regional Australia. I say to the people of Central Queensland and the dairy farmers in Bega and the cattle producers in Western Queensland and New South Wales and the feedlots around Corindi that if it wasn't for the prudent oversight by the Nationals, this story that is coming out today, which we suspected, we'd heard the rumblings and heard what other people were concerned about, if we'd stood aside from the process we would have opened ourselves up for issues such as this.

To the Labor Party, they talk about legislation. We must remember, legislation is to bring in laws and laws are there, amongst other things, to outlaw things. Ruling things out comes with penalties, penalties and impositions on the private enterprise and the private rights of people. The only thing that we know about where the Labor Party is, is that they're going to bring in legislation. When they ask questions of us, then we can show them the plan that we've got. They must show us the legislation that they intend to use. They must go to the dispatch box and say that they wouldn't, they would not include methane emissions. This is important because if they wish to be the alternate government, then every cattle producer, dairy producer, any person who drinks milk with their breakfast, any feedlot, and the people who are employed there, and the people who supply the grain to there, any person who eats beef in a shop, or steak, or mutton or lamb – they all need to find out the answer: Is the Labor Party intending to cut the cattle herd, affect the sheep herd, affect the dairy production? Because with legislation, and that is what they're proposing, legislation to bring in a cut to methane, as they're proposing in Glasgow right now, if they are compiling their legislation to comply with what the United States and other senior countries are going to do in regards to methane emissions, then regional Australia had better find out. When they cast their ballot, they've got to know the cost of what happens if the Labor Party comes into power.

REPORTER: Was the Prime Minister ever committing to a 30 per cent methane reduction? Did you secure this as a concession, or was he never going to sign up to this anyway?

BARNABY JOYCE: It was absolutely in our document that methane is to be excluded. Absolutely, 100 per cent. We went into a place where it wasn't as clear and we made sure, absolutely, absolutely affirmed that that would be the case. And it's not just that. It's also scope 3 emissions, that that was excluded, and so you can understand that is when you export a product, that you're not responsible for the methane emissions in it as well. It was diligent work that brought about a substantial process that gave us the insurance that protects regional industry, which underpins regional towns. Our job is always to ring road processes, and to drive for better deals. The better deals, the most self-evident one that we always made sure was there so people knew were at the bargaining table is there with a new Cabinet Minister, but that is not the only one.

REPORTER: So the Nats have carved out agriculture from net zero, is that what you're saying?

BARNABY JOYCE: The Nats were absolutely explicit that no deal would go forward that we would support unless it was absolutely categorically ruled out and we got that.

REPORTER: What else is in the document?

BARNABY JOYCE: There's a whole range of things, from everything from going forward making sure we move towards a fund to support people in regional Australia, make sure that we have the constant reviews, make sure we ring road areas such as methane emissions that underpin our rural industries, making sure that we're going into proper investigations and expansions of things such as the RIC to get wider financing of regional areas. There are a whole range of programs that we instigated and are driving forward and you will see over a period of time. I say this because it's really important that you're seeing now as this process goes forward, the reasons why the National Party had to go into bat.

REPORTER: How much is in that fund for regional Australia?

BARNABY JOYCE: I'm not going to disclose that.

REPORTER: Why not? Because you're disclosing bits and pieces, why not just give it all?

BARNABY JOYCE: We hear the rhetoric at times that it was somehow a week spent doing little, but it was actually a week carving out a very precise agreement.

REPORTER: Can we see that agreement? When can we see that?


REPORTER: Why not?

BARNABY JOYCE: Because it's Cabinet in confidence.

REPORTER: But you've just told us bits of it.

BARNABY JOYCE: Everybody in the National Party has seen agreement, they know that we have been going into bat for them.

REPORTER: Barnaby, how many conditions were on that list and were there any that weren't met?

BARNABY JOYCE: What I'm clearly spelling out is the guarantees, the warrants, the programs – there are programs going forward, whether it's from reviews, to further investment in regional Australia, this is all part of the process. You will see more as we go forward and even into the coming weeks.

REPORTER: Angus Taylor was asked if there was a carve out for agriculture, and Scott Morrison, they were asked that and they said this is a whole of economy approach. Are you sure that there is this carve out?

BARNABY JOYCE: Yes, there is - absolutely, 100 per cent. Methane emissions, as part of this process, will not be legislated or pushed forward in any way, shape or form. If people choose of their own volition to go down that path, that's good, but there is no methane-like tax, methane-like licence, methane-like requirement. None of that is in and in Glasgow today, they're talking about precisely that.