Page 2568 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 2 July 2008

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of payment. This amendment amends the commencement date in clause 2 of the bill to a day fixed by the minister and, if the act has not commenced by 1 July 2009, it will automatically commence on that day.

Under the provisions in the Legislation Act, this means sections 1 and 2 of the act will commence on the day after notification, so that the act will appear in the legislation register. The remaining provisions of the act will commence on a day set by the minister or on 1 July 2009, whichever is earlier. With this, I hope to achieve a speedy result in the formulation of the regulations.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.16): In relation to this amendment, it is disappointing that the bill now will not be enacted until July 2009, whereas previously, without this amendment, it would have been enacted the day after notification. I must say that this is disappointing not just for the Greens but for all those people such as the Macquarie SEE-Change group who are gearing up, getting ready, writing to me, telling me to support the feed-in tariff, and who have shown their goodwill by buying solar panels, hoping that they would be able to get the premium rate this year.

The combination of the delay in commencement with the federal government’s means-testing of households which apply for a subsidy for their solar panels is a major erosion of the whole point of this bill, which is to ensure that there are sufficient incentives to get a good proportion of people to find renewable energy production attractive.

My office contacted a number of solar panel suppliers in the ACT and found that many of them are hurting badly because of the means testing and that this might have been the thing that got them through until next year and might have compensated for those orders that will now either be delayed or cancelled. So it is really disappointing. I would be very interested to hear the reasons for it later on, perhaps when Mr Gentleman wraps up on this amendment.

The other issue about the delay of the enactment is the race to get a good model for feed-in tariffs up and running in good time before the COAG discussion about what kind of model should be used nationally. South Australia and Victoria have passed their feed-in legislation but, frankly, they have set in place inferior models that are based on net production, not gross. Mr Gentleman’s model, which we are debating today, is a superior model, even before my amendments are included—if they are.

Given that the ACT and Queensland are the next cabs off the rank, it is really important that we get a system established that has been shown to work. I would have hoped that the ACT’s better model could then be the model for the establishment of a national scheme. If we could enact our model immediately, this would give us time to show that it works, to ensure that it works, to show the commonwealth that it works, and that it works well.

Delaying the announcement is a way of looking good in time for the ACT election—that is my fear—but not actually doing anything productive. I am concerned that the ACT government is just waiting until the national scheme is set up—one that may be inferior. I look forward to hearing Mr Gentleman say that that is not the reason for the delay.

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