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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 17 November 2010) . . Page.. 5549 ..

and replace transmission infrastructure and to upgrade and replace electricity generation infrastructure. Indeed, the reason for this is that these pieces of infrastructure are coming to the end of their economic life—pieces of infrastructure that were put in place from the mid 1960s through to the mid 1980s. They are reaching the end of their life and need to be augmented or upgraded to meet growing demand. That is what is overwhelmingly driving the increase in electricity costs.

This will be required regardless of whether or not there is a shift to renewable energy. Of course, it is absolutely imperative in terms of addressing our greenhouse gas emissions profile that there is a shift to renewable energy generation but, even if we were not to pursue that objective, these upgrades would still be required to maintain a strong and reliable electricity transmission and distribution network.

Those opposite who seek to use schemes such as the feed-in tariff and who seek to use other measures designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as the culprit or whipping boy for these price increases, need to have a close look at what the independent pricing regulators themselves are saying in this matter and recognise that their rhetoric is not assisting a proper understanding of these issues.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, a supplementary?

MS HUNTER: Thank you. Minister, are you concerned that the price of electricity has risen by about 40 per cent in the last five years but the energy concession rebate only increased by around 15 per cent over the same period?

MR CORBELL: The government has to have regard to the budget impact of electricity concession schemes. The government has made a considerable investment in improving the electricity concession scheme, allowing that concession scheme to, first of all, have a one-off adjustment of $20 per annum this financial year and then to be indexed by CPI. When you compare our energy concession scheme with the energy concession schemes in all the other states and territories, it is an extremely well-resourced scheme. It is one of the best in the country, one that we are proud of and one that we will continue to maintain and support.

Mr Stanhope: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Supplementary answers to questions without notice

Children—foster carer and kinship arrangements

MS BURCH: In response to some questions by Ms Bresnan and Ms Le Couteur yesterday on out-of-home care subsidies and contingencies, in the months leading up to the increase in subsidies the department undertook detailed work on the translation from the old scale to the new scale for each carer. In just four cases anomalies were identified which could have led to a decrease, so we put in a grandfathering arrangement to make sure there was not any disadvantage there.

We have also conducted an audit of around 70 cases of children with the highest contingency payment and analysed those costs against the current contingency guidelines and higher subsidy rates. In all cases the carer was better off under the new system.

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