Page 1336 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 5 April 2011

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MR SPEAKER: Order, members!

Mr Hanson interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Hanson!

MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I will be and I have been meeting with a range of stakeholders who are supportive of further investigating a needle and syringe program at the Alexander Maconochie Centre. I think I will add Barry O’Farrell to that list. A range of prominent Australians have joined in their support of examining the prospect of implementing a needle and syringe program, and many of those prominent Australians are doing it on health-related grounds; that is, that people are dying because of blood-borne viruses, not only in prisons but in the community as well and that this is a genuine public health issue that our community needs to confront. We have high levels of hepatitis C in the jail. We have high levels in the prisoner population of those who use drugs and use drugs regularly. We have evidence that they are taking part in risky behaviours while they are incarcerated, and that is increasing the risk of transmission of blood-borne viruses.

This is the sort of discussion we need to have—reasonable discussion based on evidence, based on a commitment to work through issues that seem hard but are very important if we are to tackle some of these very significant public health issues. Certainly, there are a number of prominent Australians, and indeed if Barry O’Farrell has an open mind to it then I think he is someone that we will need to progress this discussion with. I know a number of stakeholders are seeking to enlist the support of other politicians for the investigation of needle and syringe programs in correctional facilities. Whilst this government accepts it is a difficult issue, you cannot just walk away from difficult issues. You have to deal with them.

Energy–feed-in tariff

MS BRESNAN: My question is to the Minister for Energy. Minister, last week you set the feed-in tariff premium rate for the 2011-12 financial year and announced that the premium rate would stay at the current rate–that is, 45.7c. Given that no other determination was made, the premium rate for medium scale generation will sit at 75 per cent of this amount; that is, 34.27c. Did the government commission the ICRC or any other body to model the cost of medium scale generation and the viability of this premium tariff rate at 34.27c and, if so, can you outline what was commissioned and how this modelling informed your decision that the tariff rate was appropriate?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Bresnan for the question. Yes, I did seek the advice of the ICRC on what the price should be or what the percentage rate should be for medium scale generators. The ICRC recommended that it should be set at the same level as for micro generators. I do not accept that advice. It is quite clear to me, based on feedback that my department has received from industry players, that that price would be too high. I also believe it would be perverse to have a price for medium generators which was the same as micro generators. Micro generators and medium generators have different cost pressures and they should be reflected in the price that

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