Page 2014 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 25 June 2008

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ACT climate change strategy as action 18—that is, to introduce feed-in tariffs so that energy fed back into the electricity grid is credited at a higher rate than energy bought from the distributor.

There was quite a lot of work from the government to get this in place. I have been lucky enough to champion the cause, as people have indicated tonight. Solving the issue of global warming, reducing our ecological footprint and reducing our carbon emissions will come at a cost. We have seen evidence of that in papers from Ross Garnaut, for example. I know Mrs Dunne attended the conference, as I did, at the ANU on 5 June, when Professor Garnaut delivered a report, which states:

… it is always sensible to ask whether it would be better to delay decisions, while information relevant to the decision is gathered and analysed. However, it is as much a decision to delay action, as it is to decide to take early action.

The issue, of course, is whether delay would cost the decision in the end. The report continues:

In 2008, the costs of delay—on a balance of probabilities, in the probabilistic terms that frame a good decision under conditions of uncertainty—are high. The mainstream science, the tendencies in global economic development and the state of the international decision-making process suggest that “business as usual” is running Australia and the world towards high risks of dangerous climate change at a rapid rate. The opportunity costs of delaying decisions are high.

It is very important that we act now. While it has taken some time to get to this position, I am very pleased we are here at the in-principle stage ready for the detail stage later on.

Going back to comments made by the opposition and Mr Mulcahy, I think they missed the point in relation to this legislation. The legislation is to bring about a social change within our community, to make people more aware that they have an alternative to their current electricity use and the way they access electricity at the moment—that is, using renewable energies. There has been a lot of focus tonight on the types of renewable energy available. Dr Foskey spoke only about photovoltaic energy in regard to this bill. Of course, the bill does go through quite a lot of other renewable sources, such as wind. Overseas, in Germany, for example, where I studied the law, there were many other renewable energies that fit into this, and the minister will be able to make determinations on those types of energies or any new renewable energy program that may fit within the feed-in law.

As Dr Foskey said, there are plenty of community groups out there that support this legislation. The sea change group from Jamison is a huge supporter, but, as we have heard with regard to the community consultation process that I took on, the community as a whole has been very supportive. The number of people attending these meetings has been very high.

With that, I will close the in-principle stage by saying that we had 11 and a half years of the former Prime Minister of Australia denying the very existence of climate change. While that group was not coming forward with any alternative because it still remained sceptical about the issue of climate change, the ACT government realised

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