Page 4735 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 10 November 2009

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installation of solar photovoltaic panels on households here in Canberra, less than nine months after the commencement of the feed-in tariff scheme, the territory has reached the 1,000 mark in terms of the number of solar panel installations in households—a great result for Canberra, a great result for the community and a great result for encouraging the deployment of renewable energy generation here in our city.

Indeed, this goes beyond the projections initially anticipated by the government when the scheme commenced back in March. The government anticipated that in the first 12 months we would see a 90 per cent increase in the number of installations accessing the feed-in tariff, and with four months still to go growth is already at 76 per cent. So, we are very confident that we will see that 90 per cent growth rate met, or indeed exceeded, and that is really a very strong indicator of the community’s willingness to engage in the scheme.

I was delighted to be at the house of Dr Joanna Jones, a resident of Lyons, who has just installed a 3.5 kilowatt system on her garage roof. Her installation was the one thousandth installation for the territory. She is a grandmother, and I spoke to her about what was driving her to install PV in her home. First and foremost, she said, “I am doing this for my grandchildren; I am doing this for my grandchildren’s future because the challenge of climate change is real and we must individually and collectively do as much as we can to tackle it”. She also mentioned that the feed-in tariff was a scheme that she was accessing, and she believed that was important in assisting her being paid back for her investment. This clearly indicates that Canberrans want action. They want action on the ground, and they will embrace and respond to measures that this government puts in place to respond to these challenges.

I am delighted to see the take-up rates that we have seen to date. The September quarter report, which I have received from our electricity utility, has highlighted that take-up rates for the scheme have been strongest in a range of suburbs, including Kambah, Curtin, Ainslie and Campbell. What is also particularly interesting is that as of today I notice that the New South Wales government has agreed that they would introduce a gross feed-in tariff for their state. Whilst details are yet to be confirmed, it is pleasing to see that New South Wales is following the ACT’s lead, following the leadership provided by the Labor Party and by Mick Gentleman as the member who initially proposed the legislation in this place, and introducing a feed-in tariff for their state as well and introducing a gross scheme the same as this place chose.

The only people in Canberra who do not like the feed-in tariff are those opposite. They voted in favour of the scheme, but in recent times they have chosen to bag it, to denigrate it and say it is not a worthwhile initiative. Go and tell that to Dr Joanna Jones of Lyons. That is what I say to them: go and tell it to Dr Joanna Jones of Lyons and the 1,000 other households in the ACT who have put PV on their roofs.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Porter, a supplementary?

MS PORTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, what preparations are being undertaken to expand the feed-in tariff in the ACT?

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