Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 July 2008) . . Page.. 2629 ..
MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (4.57): I support the amendment, but I have an overarching opposition to the bill on the grounds of equity. Mr Gentleman made some comment about the low financial impact on households from this and cited only a relatively modest number of people that have the capacity today to take advantage of this measure once it is introduced.
MR SPEAKER: You should remain relevant to the amendment, Mr Mulcahy.
MR MULCAHY: I am talking about cost; this is to assess the cost, Mr Speaker. The purpose of this measure is not to stand still. In fact, the reason the whole thing is being brought in is to ensure widespread take-up of this initiative; otherwise it would not be forthcoming. When we look at the area of reviewing costs, it is vital that we consider what the overall impact will be in terms of households. It is very important when you look at the government documentation to note that if 10 per cent of households were to partake in the scheme, the average household’s electricity bill would increase by $218. As I said at the outset, I understood from Mr Seselja that he was not at all keen on this initiative, and then, after I heard Mrs Dunne’s initial speech, I was none the wiser. The drift I get today is that the opposition seem to think it is now a good idea. I am not quite sure whether they are checking which way the wind blows on this.
Whilst it is implicit in this amendment from Mr Gentleman that there are cost impacts, I do not think there is sufficient recognition of the inequitable arrangement that this entire initiative involves when you talk about a 10 per cent uptake leading to an increase of $218 per year on the average Canberra household. This is in a climate when people are facing rising grocery charges, rising fuel costs and recently approved ICRC increases in electricity. We have got increases in water, and we are now turning around and saying, “If this works, be ready to cop another $218 a year if you are not part of this group that will be able to avail itself of the initiative.” A lot of people in Canberra will not be able to cover the capital cost.
It has been mentioned earlier that the Labor Party have upended the federal solar rebate, so they have undermined a lot of this. I certainly acknowledge that the model that Mr Gentleman has devised here is the best if you are going to have this particular initiative, but I am worried in the current climate that the cost impact on households will be severe. I believe the entire initiative is badly timed. I am glad this concession is in here about assessing the cost impacts. For that reason, I will support that as a matter of principle.
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (5.00): I just want to address some of the statements Mr Mulcahy has made, especially in relation to extra costs that he has perceived as $218 a year. I indicated during the in-principle stage that our modelling shows that we currently have around 110 renewable electricity generators in the ACT. If this bill is enacted and payments are made immediately, that cost would relate to around 80c per household per year. However, with the amendments we have made today to increase the size of the rebate with regard to the transitional franchise tariff, that has now gone up. Our modelling shows that it will now cost $1.05 per year for all of those that are currently generating electricity from home.
Mr Mulcahy said that 10 per cent take-up will cost $218 a year. It is going to take a very long time for 10 per cent of households to take up this initiative. We would like