Page 3003 - Week 07 - Thursday, 30 June 2011

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But for people with the skill set, people who are electricians, people who have the technical skills needed for the installation of PV, those opportunities continue to be available because of the price support for the medium generator category. The real problem of course is that there will not be medium-scale generation because of the decision that appears likely to be taken later this afternoon to make micro eligible for that medium category. Micro will suck up all the medium generation capacity and then there will be nothing. There will be nothing.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Le Couteur?

MS LE COUTEUR: Minister, given the concerns that you must have had about the amount that has been installed, why did you keep the price the same? You said earlier that you would adjust the price but you did not.

MR CORBELL: The price was retained the same for the reasons that I outlined when I made the determination. Those reasons remain valid today—that is, the potential impact in terms of price movements in the value of the Australian dollar verses overseas currencies could have led to a sudden and dramatic increase in the price of installation of PV. That would have had an impact on the market if the price had been dropped too low. So that was the view I took in relation to that matter. That view remains valid today.

But if the suggestion from Ms Le Couteur is that the best way of managing this would have been to reduce the price and, therefore, reduce demand, the reduction of price would have had to have been of such a magnitude—ie, down to 20c or 15c per kilowatt hour—to have eased pressure. This is because the real incentive for consumers was to get in to secure the renewable energy certificate rebates from the commonwealth before that scheme was substantially reduced on 1 July. That is what was driving demand—not the feed-in tariff price—and it is wrong to suggest otherwise.


MS PORTER: Mr Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister for Education and Training. Can the minister advise the Assembly about what the government is doing to ensure we are renewing our public schools and building new schools where they are needed most?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Porter for her question and indeed for her longstanding interest in education in the territory. The government embarked on a significant reform of our education system in 2006 and we did so to ensure that we could meet the needs of Canberra’s students, their families and the local economy into the future. These reforms have seen a record investment—an investment that since 2006-07, and incorporating initiatives in this year’s budget, is approaching three-quarters of a billion dollars; the single largest investment in public education in the history of self-government in the territory. We are upgrading every single school in the public system, and we are building new ones where they are needed most.

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