Page 709 - Week 02 - Thursday, 12 February 2009

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Thursday, 12 February 2009

MR SPEAKER (Mr Rattenbury) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Leave of absence

Motion (by Mr Hanson) agreed to:

That leave of absence be granted to Mr Smyth for this sitting to attend volunteer fire brigade duties interstate.

Electricity Feed-in (Renewable Energy Premium) Amendment Bill 2009

Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.01): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Today I am tabling proposed amendments to the Electricity Feed-in (Renewable Energy Premium) Act 2008. In June 2008, this Assembly passed landmark legislation that established the parameters for the introduction by 1 July this year of the most forward looking and innovative electricity feed-in tariff scheme in the country. That act was promoted and introduced by former Labor MLA Mick Gentleman. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Gentleman for the excellent groundwork that he has laid.

Since then, my new Department of the Environment, Climate Change, Energy and Water has been working on a plan to implement this scheme. Consultation with industry groups, other jurisdictions and local and national energy market regulators has highlighted a number of areas where the original act could be clarified and simplified in the interests of transparency and equity. The amendments that I am proposing address these matters.

The scheme envisaged in the original act offered premium-level payments to renewable energy generators for a period of 20 years. I am pleased to say that these features remain. The scheme will be the most generous in the country. However, significant concerns about the potential long-term impacts on low-income and other vulnerable ACT households have led me to propose and adopt a staged approach to the scheme’s introduction.

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