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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 June 2008) . . Page.. 2002 ..

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (9.36): It is interesting that, after ranting on and off over the last week about how important the feed-in tariff was and what a vital piece of legislation it was for the government, the Chief Minister and minister for the environment is not here for this debate.

It was interesting last week that we had this funny journey of the electricity feed-in renewable energy premium bill, because when Mr Gentleman first championed this idea one of the biggest pourers of cold water on the idea was, in fact, the Chief Minister. He was very reticent to come to the party. He was in the press nay-saying this at the outset. But I think that, because he is in politics, the Chief Minister can do the numbers and he saw the numbers of people who turned out to Mr Gentleman’s very successful consultations on the process, and it is very clear that there is a high level of community anticipation and community support for measures such as this.

It was interesting that in the budget, I think, the Chief Minister talked about the feed-in tariff. Suddenly it seemed that he was proposing it. I hope he does come to speak on this and somehow gives the imprimatur of this being a government initiative, because Mr Gentleman’s work deserves that much. It was interesting that in the budget debate the Chief Minister talked about the world-standard feed-in tariff. He likes to do this because he likes to have things that he can eulogise about his chief ministership, so that when he ceases being Chief Minister he can say, “I did that.”

I have to congratulate Mr Gentleman on, as Dr Foskey said, championing this and sticking with it through thick and through what I anticipate was not a very receptive caucus. They cannot possibly have been a very receptive caucus when we see how little this government has done in relation to energy efficiency, renewable energy and making it easier for people to live a better, more comfortable life in their homes in Canberra.

Let us look at some of the policy initiatives that have been put forward and pooh-poohed in this place by the Chief Minister to put this in context. This is the Chief Minister who threw out a greenhouse strategy. He had some advice from people who reviewed the greenhouse strategy about how to make the greenhouse strategy better. But, instead of doing that, he threw it out and this territory had no greenhouse strategy for the best part of three years. Then he brought in a 43-part greenhouse strategy which was a cobbled-together concoction of things. One of the things that was in the greenhouse strategy was, as Mr Gentleman said, a feed-in tariff, and we will have a feed-in tariff once this legislation passes and we get to the commencement, which is at the beginning of July next year, which is another interesting story.

But it is a shame that when we did this we got such a small element of a feed-in tariff. Mr Gentleman went overseas and looked at what was happening in a number of countries. Anyone who has done even a small amount of research realises that there are a large number of countries—I think Dr Foskey said 41 countries—who have feed-in tariffs of different sorts. But the feed-in tariff is only part of the whole and the countries which are most successful at renewable energy—probably the standout European country is Spain—have a combination of capital incentive, a bit like the rebate which the federal Labor government has undermined recently, and a feed-in tariff. There are some refinements, as Dr Foskey said, in some countries, with premium rates and things like this.

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