Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 601 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
abundance of sunshine gives us a natural advantage, and the economic and environmental benefits are potentially huge.
The Photovoltaic Rebate Program is an expensive measure for the greenhouse gas reductions obtained. However, the stimulation it provides to the Australian PV industry is very important for its further development. In fact, it is vital to the further development of the industry, which has the potential to create thousands of new jobs and provide export dollars, as well as having an impact on greenhouse gas emissions.
For all those reasons, the government is happy to support this motion, and I am more than happy to write to the federal government in the terms of the motion, as moved by Mrs Dunne, to ensure that funding for the program is retained in 2003-04.
MS TUCKER (10.46): The Greens will also be supporting this motion. It is one way of addressing the lack of pricing signals that currently exists in Australia in terms of activities that impact on the environment-in this case, energy sources.
It was a terrible and critical wasted opportunity that the federal government brought in the goods and services tax at the time that it did, when we had the opportunity to look at how we could use economic instruments such as the tax system to have an impact on economic activity in terms of its impact on the environment.
Because we saw that critical failure of the federal government and its supporters at the time, we now have to look very seriously at questions of rebates, so that we can get renewable energy supported. Of course, if full costing were done of the dirty energy sources, they would be extremely expensive.
But as the way our system works at the moment is so unrelated to full costing or environmental or social impact, it is obviously cheaper to use the most polluting sources of energy. So, the rebates are a sort of catch-up. It is important to assist in some way to get the renewable energy systems and sources used in our country. In fact, it is an absolute fundamental responsibility that we do that. I support this motion.
MS DUNDAS (10.48): I am glad that the Assembly has deemed it right to support this motion today. I know it has come on in a rather rushed way, but the committee decided that this was a matter of urgency. The federal budget is being developed now, and it is important that we remind the federal government of the need for environmental measures to be part of their budget process.
There is much work being done in the areas of renewable energy and sustainability, and there are great cost implications attached to those because of the new technologies. Also, there is an unwillingness at the heart of governments and industry to truly look at the future impact of what they are doing and see the long-term benefits of transferring to more environmentally sustainable forms of production.
Hopefully, by accepting this motion today we will make quite clear to the federal government that we are committed to a sustainable future and that the rebate program for photovoltaic cells is just one part of that. We will continue to work to put forward ideas and come up with solutions as to how industry operates at the moment-and how the