SKY NEWS FIRST EDITION
MONDAY, 12 DECEMBER 2022
SUBJECTS: Charity scams, energy plan, clean energy
DANICA DE GIORGIO (HOST): There's a warning for Australians who give generously to charities over the Christmas period to be aware of fake charity scams. Fake scams have tended to peak over the December January period in recent years. Joining me now live, is Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury Andrew Leigh. Thank you so much for joining us this morning. Which scams are doing the rounds?
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES AND TREASURY DR ANDREW LEIGH, : Well, it's a range of scams, typically from organisations pretending to be reputable charities. And so the key here is to be safe and to give smart. If someone's on the phone and they're not sounding quite right, then just hang up and Google the charity. Or go to acnc.gov.au, the charity commission website, where you can get the real details. We want to make sure that scammers go home empty handed this Christmas season, at the same time as ensuring that Australia's great charities get the resources they need to help the most vulnerable.
DE GIORGIO: How do you know if a charity is legitimate?
LEIGH: The best way is to check it out the credentialed source, acnc.gov.au, or just bringing up their website. You want to be careful of people who sound a bit suss on the phone, careful of emails coming from suspicious sources. If someone knocks on the front door and they don't have identification as a charity collector, then don't give them your credit card details. Australia's charities need help and the last thing I'd want is for Australians to be closing their wallets entirely to worthy charities. But we need to make sure the scammers aren't getting away with our hard earned. Now, these are real lowlifes people taking from generous Australians who want to help the disadvantaged. And so I want to be out there making sure that those scammers get nothing this Christmas.
DE GIORGIO: And it's obviously a very difficult time for a number of Australians at the moment. Are you expecting that charities will be more overwhelmed this year?
LEIGH: Charities are certainly under pressure. They're telling me about the push that they've had because of the number of volunteers who dropped out during COVID and haven't come back. So it's not only a good time to give money, it's also a good chance to give your time. And if you go to govolunteer.com.au or one of the other volunteer match websites, you'll see oodles of great opportunities to work with local charities. These local charities benefit from your assistance and I know so many of them are doing it tough needing more people to be able to help out.
DE GIORGIO: I want to move on now to our top story of the day the emergency energy legislation that Labor is looking to get through before Christmas. But you're facing a roadblock. The Greens and David Pocock want changes made. Is the plan dead in the water?
LEIGH: This is a straightforward plan. Commonwealth cap on gas prices, state caps on coal prices, up to one and a half billion dollars of energy price relief for households and small businesses, and more clean, cheap dispatchable energy to the grid. This is a plan which is right to ensure that we put downward pressure on energy prices, which Treasury estimates to be $230 higher for the average household if we don't go ahead with this plan. I suspect that the vast majority of Parliamentarians will want to support a plan which supports Australian households.
DE GIORGIO: Okay, but at the moment, you've got some saying we don't support the current legislation. So how will you get crossbench support before Christmas, before that deadline?
LEIGH: As we did in the last parliamentary sittings where you saw measures such as the Integrity Commission negotiated through with the crossbench. We'll engage respectfully with all members of Parliament, but it is really important to remember that this is the right plan for the circumstances. Those who are saying, “oh, we should just go off and get more gas supply”, are effectively saying, don't do anything about the problem for the next five years, because that's how long it would take for newfound gas supply to make its way to Australian households. It's vital that we move towards cleaner, greener sources of energy, and this crisis has brought that out more than anything. This is a crisis largely caused by the spike in prices for fossil fuels. The more solar and wind and batteries we can get into the system, the more sustainable the grid will be.
DE GIORGIO: Andrew Leigh, thank you so much for joining us this morning.