Page 320 - Week 01 - Thursday, 17 February 2011

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Electricity Feed-in (Renewable Energy Premium) Amendment Bill 2010

Debate resumed.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (3.55): The Liberal Party will not be supporting this bill. It is worth going into the core reasons why we do not support this scheme and this legislation. There are two primary reasons. They are issues that I have been on the record for raising for a long time, but they are worth reiterating. They are the questions of inequity, the increase in the cost of living for ordinary Canberra families that is associated with this scheme, and issues of efficiency. This is one of the most expensive ways imaginable to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In fact, since we last debated these issues I think there has been a growing chorus in relation to the inefficiency and the inequity of some of these schemes. The voices have come from across the political spectrum. Many of them are absolutely committed environmentalists and many have a more natural economic focus, but across the board we have been seeing it. There has been a lot of analysis in our newspapers. There has been analysis from academics about these type of schemes.

Back in November last year we had Andrew Macintosh from the Australian National University. Andrew Macintosh is an environmental law and policy expert and is the associate director of the ANU Centre for Climate Law and Policy. Andrew Macintosh was reported on 12 November as saying:

I don’t see there’s a lot of public benefit of residential PV programs. I’m not saying that no funds should go to solar PV research. I think that’s incredibly important and I’d like to see a lot more money devoted to solar PV research.

I just think the residential PV sector is not where we should be concentrating our efforts.

In fact, he went on and said that Canberra’s rooftop solar rebate program should be wound back and closed. So that is Andrew Macintosh’s view. We have seen analysis from a number of our newspapers. We had Lenore Taylor and Mark Davis looking at a range of climate reduction or greenhouse gas reduction schemes on 15 February—so just this week. Lenore Taylor is not known as a climate sceptic in any way. She was looking at the efficiency of various schemes that have been conducted by the commonwealth, and that included previous commonwealth governments.

Interestingly, the tenor of the article was the massive expense of some of these schemes. The average for these emissions reduction schemes that were analysed was $168 for each tonne of carbon dioxide abated. So we see $168 per tonne being deemed to be expensive, and it is. It is much more expensive than a lot of other ways of cutting emissions. Yet we have got a scheme here in the ACT that is much more expensive than that again. It is worth going through and looking at the various options because you do not have to actually look too far to find far more efficient ways of cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

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