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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 4422..


MR QUINLAN (continuing):

to accept the amendment.

Proposed new clause 21 agreed to.

Dictionary agreed to.

Title agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Electricity (Greenhouse Gas Emissions) Bill 2004

Debate resumed from 24 June 2004, on motion by Mr Quinlan:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MRS DUNNE (10.12): Some critics of this legislation make the point that it is a direct "steal" from the provisions in New South Wales. In my view, that criticism misses the point somewhat. I am on record in this place as stating on a number of occasions that we should not be reinventing the wheel every time we start off on a new venture.

It is true that the idea put forward by the government is not original but, on the whole, the link with New South Wales provides more advantages than disadvantages. The New South Wales link, importantly, not only offers economies of scale; it is also fairer to industry, it avoids perverse incentives such as forum shopping to get the best deal, and it is in line with recognition of responsibility for emissions associated with electricity consumed in the ACT, though overwhelmingly generated in New South Wales.

This bill is a foray into "market environmentalism" and is therefore in line with the Liberal Party approach to green issues. It is an approach that is increasingly gaining support around the world. I had the privilege, when she was last in Canberra, of meeting and discussing issues with Hunter Lovings of the Rocky Mountain Institute. I think it is useful to quote her on this subject. She said:

The inefficient use of energy causes many economic and security problems, and most environmental ones. Simply using energy in a way that saves money would avoid most of these problems. The RMI therefore works to speed the free-market adoption of a "Soft Energy Path"-a profitable blending of efficient energy use with safe, sustainable sources to provide the same or better services while saving money, abating pollution and climate change, reducing the threat of nuclear proliferation, and increasing global security.

What more could you ask for in the energy debate? However, it has been admitted that this legislation is of a kind that might be described by many proponents as groundbreaking and by many of its critics as speculative, untried and even experimental. The Liberal Party does not consider this to be a damning criticism. Heaven knows, this is an area where we could do with a few more creative ideas, and an approach that takes us out of entrenched positions that generally characterise the environment debate.

We need to get beyond the caricature positions of top-hatted industrial villains operating dark satanic mills as the enemies of all that is good, pure and biodegradable. We need to


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