Sky News Interview with Minister Plibersek and Peter Stefanovic 17/04/24

17 April 2024




PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: Well, let's bring in the Environment and Water Minister, Tanya Plibersek. Now, Tanya, good to see you. Just on that, before we get to Sydney, are you worried about what the court may decide today if this man is released into the community?

TANYA PLIBERSEK, MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER: Well, as Clare O'Neil has said, we're prepared for every eventuality. It would be a little easier if we could count on the support of the Opposition to do what we know needs to be done in our immigration and detention system. But of course, Peter Dutton and Sussan Ley are going to take every opportunity to put the politics ahead of the interests of the community, once again.

STEFANOVIC: Ok, we'll have full coverage of that as it happens today, folks. It's all here on Sky. Now let's get to the events of the past few days. Tanya, first of all, to the event in Western Sydney. Do you fear reprisals even though leadership at all levels have called for calm and generally that's been accepted?

MINISTER PLIBERSEK: Well, our community and religious leaders have been very clear that they really want to focus on community cohesion. They're calling for calm. And I think very importantly, they are saying to people who are getting lots of misinformation from social media, don't listen, don't get sucked in to what's going round on social media. It would be really helpful if the social media companies use some of the massive technological resources they have available to them to get some of this really harmful stuff off social media. I know that the eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, is doing her very best. We've quadrupled her budget so that she can be more proactive in dealing with what's happening on social media. But truly, as I said earlier this morning, switch it off. There's just so much poisonous stuff happening online at the moment. Switch it off and do what community and religious leaders are asking of our community, which is reach out the hand of friendship and remain calm.

STEFANOVIC: Yeah, the trouble is, though, you know, a disaffected youth gets so easily swayed, don't they?

MINISTER PLIBERSEK: Well, it does. And this is where community leaders and parents really have an opportunity to speak to the young people and say, "There's a lot of lies on social media, don't believe them, don't get sucked in". And let's, you know, let's listen to what our community leaders are saying, which is we're a strong, multicultural, cohesive community. It's a terrible time. It's a terrible, terrible time for people in the Sydney community. Let's look after each other.

STEFANOVIC: Yeah, on that Tanya, you are a Sydney citizen first and foremost before being a Senior Minister in the Federal Government. How have you digested the twin attacks in Sydney over the past four or five days?

MINISTER PLIBERSEK: Well, I think it's been very difficult for all Sydneysiders. We're very focused on the victims and their families, on people who were visiting or working at Bondi Junction on the weekend, people who are watching online as their religious leader was attacked the other night. We are really very focused on helping those people through a very traumatic time. But I think, you know, the Premier has been a great leader during this time, and he is really reminding us that we're a strong community and by working together and looking after each other, we'll come through this.

STEFANOVIC: Yeah. Ok. Now, just finally in your wheelhouse now, your new tranche of the Nature Positive Plan has been attacked already, claimed to be a toothless tiger, will not touch existing environmental standards, is that right?

MINISTER PLIBERSEK: Well, you know, the Liberals say we're doing too much, the Greens say we're not doing enough. I think it shows we've hit the sweet spot. What we've got with this package is stronger environmental protection, faster decision making for business, a lot more data and transparency. There is something in this package for everyone. A new environment protection agency will be a tough new cop on the beat. It'll have strong, stronger powers. It'll be able to issue much higher fines than is currently available. I'm going to ask them in the first instance to look at issues like illegal land clearing and whether businesses are keeping their promises to look after the environment. We're going to have a much greater investment in making decisions on time. I've taken on time decision making from around 46 per cent under the previous government to 84 per cent on my watch. We can do better than that. So, as I say, something in this package for everyone.

STEFANOVIC: All right, Tanya, Plibersek-

MINISTER PLIBERSEK: I guess if the extremes are both complaining, that means you're doing something right.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, Tanya Plibersek, we're out of time. Appreciate your time as always, though. We'll talk to you again soon.