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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 17 November 2010) . . Page.. 5513 ..


The Greens are the only party that have consistently advocated for a feed-in tariff at an industrial scale to encourage private investment by companies and to level the playing field on energy generation. Unfortunately, Mr Seselja once again is demonstrating that he does not understand feed-in tariffs. Feed-in tariffs are about leveraging private investment from those who can invest, to deliver to the community the benefit to everyone of clean, renewable energy. And, of course, we are expecting it to be changed so that even those with a small amount of money to invest can do so by participating in a community project.

When it comes to water, Mr Seselja has included the cost of the Cotter Dam as something that is driving up water prices. But again the motion fails to address that other important contextual point that we live in a dry nation with precious few water resources. We have moved into an environment where we have to put a price on water as we acknowledge that it is a resource we must value. This is basic economic theory. We have had to make some substantial investments in water security in the ACT and, again, it is unclear whether the Liberal Party still support the Cotter Dam. But I presume that their support for that project has not wavered.

The ICRC inquiry did find that the project was cost effective, even if they raised questions about the prudence of such a large investment. That is another whole debate about whether this was the right water option for Canberra, and that is one we can take up another day.

In summary, I want to make this very important point. Some of the costs we are talking about today are not what we consider the optional extras of life. The cost of dealing with climate change falls into that category. We cannot look at the price and say: “No, I do not want to buy that today. I do not need clean energy today.” Extra bathrooms might be optional. An extended living area might be optional. A larger plasma TV or an overseas holiday might be optional. But taking no action on climate change is not optional. The planet is telling us that it is not a choice. We can change or we can irrevocably damage the planet. Or we can leave action on climate change until it is so late that it, in fact, costs us a whole lot more than it would today. That is the other truth. Acting now is cheaper than acting later.

However, we must be mindful of the cost of living and how it impacts, particularly on the most vulnerable in our community and those whom we know are disproportionately affected by price rises. They are those with the least discretionary income and who cannot make choices because they do not have the luxury of not buying something special so that they can, in fact, pay their electricity bill. They are the people we must protect against the rising cost of living because they are the people who will be most impacted.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (11.25): Apart from noting the obsession Mr Rattenbury often has with focusing so much of his energy on the opposition rather than on the government, I will not spend a lot of time responding to him because it is the usual speech we get from Mr Rattenbury at the moment. He does not actually focus on doing the job which those who apparently are not in government are meant to do, which is to hold the government to account. And that is what we are going to continue to do.


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