JULIE BISHOP: Last Wednesday an earthquake hit Aceh in Indonesia and we believe that about 100 people have been killed, over 7000 people have been injured and 11,000 people displaced. The Australian Government has been in close contact with local authorities and with the Indonesian Government and I have contacted Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi offering our condolences. The Australia Government has offered to provide $1 million in humanitarian assistance and this has been accepted. We will be providing it through the Indonesian Red Cross and it will comprise prepositioned supplies of shelter, water, sanitation and other much needed supplies. The Australian Government stands ready to assist Indonesia in this time of need. We have no reports of any Australian fatalities however if people are concerned about friends or family in Indonesia, I encourage them to make contact with them and if they are unable to do so to use our consular emergency line 1300 555 135.

Yesterday an earthquake registering 7.8 magnitude hit Solomon Islands and there have been a series of aftershocks including a 7 magnitude earthquake at about 6:00am this morning. There have been no fatalities reported and no reports of any Australians being affected by this. I have been in contact with Prime Minister Sogavare and Foreign Minister Tozaka and offered our support. A helicopter that is attached to the RAMSI – Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands – is being used for aerial assessments and there has been damage to buildings and infrastructure. The Australian Government has offered to send $50,000 in supplies and we stand ready to provide more support should it be needed. Again, if any Australians are concerned about friends or family and not been able to contact them, then they can contact our emergency number 1300 555 135.

JOURNALIST: Is there any travel advice (inaudible)?

JULIE BISHOP: I do urge people to read our travel advice on smartraveller.gov.au, it will report that these earthquakes have taken place and to abide by the directions of local authorities. But I do urge people to read the travel advice and always take out travel insurance before going overseas.

JOURNALIST: There are still aftershocks?

JULIE BISHOP: That’s right, there was an aftershock at about 6:00am this morning so while no fatalities have been reported there will need to be ground-based assessments to determine the extent of the damage.

JOURNALIST: The damage that you see, is it quite severe?

JULIE BISHOP: It’s not wide spread devastation, it’s quite localised but it is damage to buildings and infrastructure and there will be assistance required to rebuild what has been damaged in the earthquakes.

JOURNALIST: Has this been the worst week for the Turnbull Government?

JULIE BISHOP: I believe that the Turnbull Government is getting on with delivering our election promises. We have passed historic legislation through the Parliament linked to industrial relations, which will mean more jobs, law and order back on the construction sites across Australia. We have got through the Parliament our savings package of over $20 billion and we’re focusing on all the matters that we took to the last election and I think the Turnbull Government has been delivering and that’s what people expect from their Government, to deliver.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

JULIE BISHOP: The Australian Government committed to a target to reduce our emission by 26 to 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 and we have policies in place which will achieve that. Australia has a history of meeting, in fact beating our targets for emissions reduction and that’s what we’ll continue to do. We’ll have a review of our policies to make sure we’re on track but we will not have an energy policy that drives up electricity prices. We want to see secure, reliable supplies of energy but it has to be affordable and we don’t believe in driving up electricity prices because that will cost jobs and hit people across Australia.

JOURNALIST: Are you worried that the Government’s stubbornness on energy will cost Australians more?

JULIE BISHOP: The Australian Government has a policy that has been in place since August 2015. It was embraced by the Cabinet, by the entire Coalition Party Room and it meant that there would be a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 per cent on 2005 levels. We have met our Kyoto targets, we are on track to meet our 2020 targets and I believe we will meet our 2030 targets, so our energy policy is working.

JOURNALIST: Are you worried that the Government’s stubbornness on energy will mean that we don’t make our Paris targets?

JULIE BISHOP: I am confident that we will meet our Paris targets. Our commitment under the Paris Agreement is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 per cent, and that is about halving it on a per capita basis and a two thirds reduction per unit of GDP. All indications are that under the Direct Action Emissions Reduction Fund we will be able to meet those targets and we have a history of doing so.

JOURNALIST: That report that was leaked during the week, was that inaccurate?

JULIE BISHOP: I’m not going into the details of a draft report but I’m looking at this review as ensuring that we are on track to meet our targets as we plan to do.

- Ends -

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