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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 9 Hansard (18 August) . . Page.. 3205..


MR SPEAKER: Yes, thank you, Mr Smyth. I think, to be consistent with earlier rulings today, the question is out of order. However, having said that, Chief Minister, if you wish to answer the question, you may.

MR STANHOPE: I would not wish to answer a question that was not consistent with the standing orders. I would not wish to actually breach the standing orders in any way, Mr Speaker, just, of course, as I would not wish to breach the code of conduct.

Energy—solar

MS BURCH: My question is to the Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water. Can you please provide the Assembly with an update on the implementation of the feed-in tariff?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Burch for the question. The introduction of the feed-in tariff has proven to be a very successful program in the ACT in the five or so months since it first commenced in March this year. Part of the government's climate change response, it is the first gross payment scheme for a feed-in tariff in the country. As members would know, thanks to the universal support that we received in this place for the legislation, that is through the payment of a premium price for each and every kilowatt hour that is produced.

Since that time, we have seen 163 new solar generators installed in the ACT, growth of over 28 per cent. ActewAGL Distribution has advised me that, as of today, that figure is just short of 800 installations, with a further 200 applications in progress for installation over the next two to three months. What a tremendous endorsement of a scheme designed to put solar power onto the homes of ordinary Canberrans. As well as households, we are seeing churches, community groups and small businesses signing up for solar power in the ACT.

Of course, we know that, as determined by the Australian Energy Regulator, the average impost per electricity bill is $27 per year per account holder. With ACT electricity prices still well below those in surrounding New South Wales, it amounts to approximately 50c per week per account holder—50c per week over the next five years.

This has been a very positive scheme, warmly embraced by the Canberra community. I note that Mrs Dunne is leaving the chamber. We know that there is now a major division in the ranks of the Liberal Party when it comes to the feed-in tariff. Let us remember that it was the Liberal Party that voted for the feed-in tariff when it was introduced in March this year. Indeed, we now have the interesting situation where a scheme is overwhelmingly endorsed by now close to 1,000 Canberra households. Fewer than 1,000 Canberra households in just over six months have indicated their willingness to sign up and put solar power on their roofs.

The Liberal Party voted for it. They voted for it and endorsed it when the bill was passed in March this year or February this year. What have we heard since then? We have heard Mr Seselja walk away from the Liberal Party's support of this scheme. The question has to be asked: why have they walked away from their support for this


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