Page 334 - Week 01 - Thursday, 17 February 2011

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the strength of the Australian dollar, I think will compel the ICRC to have further regard to the premium price in its advice to me later this year. So I think the mechanism of that review helps prevent the issue that Mr Rattenbury raises.

I would also say that the provisions in the bill that permit the minister to allocate elements of different categories within the overall scheme cap—for example, moves a level of megawatts from the medium category to the micro category—also provides an important pressure release valve should that be necessary. I am not suggesting that it will be, but it does have that capacity.

Further, I make the point that we do have a close monitoring occurring of what is going on in the industry. We have the regular reporting to the ICRC on the level of take-up, the level of demand, and that has remained pretty constant since the scheme commenced. We see about a megawatt installed every quarter. That is something that we will continue to monitor and will use that reporting methodology.

So for all of those reasons we will not support Mr Rattenbury’s amendment. I note his concerns; it is an issue we will be keeping a close eye on. But the mechanisms to date, we believe, are satisfactory to respond to those issues as we move forward.

The bill, with these provisions, will provide us with real capacity to continue to see sustained activity in the micro category and it will also mean we will see an uptake obviously in medium generation. That is the other reason caps are important. The cap is designed to send a signal, particularly for micro, that we want to see more activity in larger scale renewable energy generation. We want to send a signal to the industry and to consumers that investment in micro will not be an open-ended arrangement where you will get a FIT payment.

We want to see investment move to larger scale generation, because that is where the more efficient generation is; that is where the real opportunities are to make Canberra the solar capital of Australia, to get the best level of abatement from the level of investment we are putting in, and that is why the cap on the micro category is also important.

So for all those reasons the government will not support Mr Rattenbury’s amendment, but we will continue to watch closely performance in the market and use the tools available to us as necessary to address any issues of concern.

Question put:

That Mr Rattenbury’s amendment be agreed to.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 4

Noes 9

Ms Bresnan

Mr Rattenbury

Mr Barr

Mr Hargreaves

Ms Hunter

Ms Burch

Mr Seselja

Ms Le Couteur

Mr Coe

Mr Smyth

Mr Corbell

Mr Stanhope

Mr Doszpot

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