News Politics Australian Politics Federal Election 2022 PM denies he’s embarrassed on climate
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PM denies he’s embarrassed on climate

Victorian state budget to focus on health, cost of living

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Scott Morrison has denied suggestions he has been embarrassed by businesses on climate change action.

Labor has accused the government of being left in the wake of business and industry getting on with delivering net zero emissions, with clean energy advocate and businessman Mike Cannon-Brookes being the latest example as he takes a 11 per cent stake in energy firm AGL.

As the prime minister battles to save key seats from independents campaigning on a stronger climate stance, Mr Morrison said the government had taken significant action on climate change.

The prime minister began the day campaigning in the seat of Dunkley, southeast of Melbourne, which is held by Labor by 2.7 per cent.

Visiting a local fruit and vegetable shop with Liberal candidate Sharn Coombs, Mr Morrison said the coalition had put up an “economic shield” for Australians against the rising cost of living.

Mr Morrison said the government’s net-zero emissions target by 2050 had struck the right balance on affordable energy.

“(Power prices) have fallen over 10 per cent since I became prime minister,” he said.

“Those electricity prices is what they pay here to keep the fridges on and keep people employed.”

He said action on power prices had been among the measures insulating people from increasing costs.

“If you don’t support reliable, affordable energy and don’t have balanced targets on these things, you’re going to put more pressure on families and households and small businesses,” he told reporters.

“If you allow electricity prices to rise by having unbalanced emissions reduction targets, then the price of (food) goes up, it just all goes up.”

While visiting the fruit and vegetable store, the shop’s owner told the prime minister the cost of food in the store was expected to rise in coming months.

Mr Morrison helped to pack an online order at the store, while also speaking to workers.

However, he was briefly heckled by some shoppers in the store at the time, with one shouting “go Albo”, while another described him as “Scotty from marketing”.

Labor climate spokesman Chris Bowen said business was setting a clear direction.

“Business and industry are way ahead of the government, getting on with the job of transitioning to net zero and leaving the federal government in their wake,” he said.

Mr Morrison will spend Tuesday campaigning in Melbourne in key marginal seats.

Earlier on Tuesday, the prime minister defended his government’s record on public hospital funding.

However, speaking on Melbourne radio station 3AW, he insisted the buck stopped with state governments on systemic health issues.

Under pressure from state premiers demanding more federal health funding, the prime minister claims they won’t take direction on how to spend it.

“The thing about our federation is we’ve all got to take responsibility for the things we do,” he said.

“One of the things that state governments don’t welcome from federal governments when we give them money, they don’t like us to tell them how they should be running the hospitals.”

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews intends to team up with fellow state and territory leaders to push the next federal government to maintain the equal health funding partnership established during the pandemic.

The West Australian government has also announced a $252 million package to improve emergency departments as part of its upcoming state budget.

-AAP