Page 4608 - Week 12 - Thursday, 15 October 2009

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considering an expansion of the tariff to cover renewable energy generators of greater than 30 megawatts.

The German experience, in particular, is unequivocal. Without this policy there would have been insufficient take-up of renewable energy within a time frame capable of delivering the sustainability outcomes set by government. Even with a price on carbon, without the feed-in tariff you would not have seen the take-up that they have seen.

The second major initiative here in Canberra, the government push to secure a large-scale solar power generation facility within the ACT, was also affirmed by the trip. Solar power facilities at scale are not science fiction. They dot the landscape across the southern part of Western Europe and function efficiently and effectively, even in places less blessed by solar irradiation than Canberra.

Again, the ACT Labor government’s reform programs are clearly consistent with world’s best practice and demonstrate that our leadership in this field is no pipedream. The government continue to move expeditiously to implement our commitment to renewable energy sources through the development of a solar facility capable of providing sufficient renewable energy for at least 10,000 homes. This 30 megawatt facility is not just large by current standards in Australia; it is large by international standards.

An evaluation team is currently finalising its review and recommendations to government of the more than 20 substantial proposals received from some of Australia’s and the world’s leading players in solar energy. I remain confident—indeed, very confident—we will be able to secure a commercially viable, technologically proven and innovative solar power facility in the ACT.

I expect the second stage of this process, the request for detailed proposals from a smaller group of companies, to proceed later this year. Given recent developments in other states, I also expect the ACT will have the first large-scale solar power facility operational anywhere in the country. Of course, these two initiatives are by no means the total answer but they certainty constitute a critical part of a clever, coherent and meaningful policy response to climate change,

Madam Assistant Speaker, I have sought to give a brief overview of the outcomes of my visits and I hope that I have been able to convey some of the most important lessons learnt and what they mean for future policy directions in my portfolio. I return even more optimistic about Canberra’s long-term future and more confident that the policies we have already in place, along with those that we will roll out over the next one to two years, will enable us to deliver on a vision of a truly sustainable Canberra.

I am, I must say, also daunted by the work. There is a lot of policy work to be done and a lot of complex detail to work through, but I believe that with enthusiasm and commitment, which I have seen from my colleagues in the government, from the Assembly and from the officers of my department and across the ACT administration, we are well placed to realise these ambitions.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.20): I welcome the minister’s statement today. I think he has given a very interesting statement of his recent travels and his

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