Page 3030 - Week 07 - Thursday, 30 June 2011

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you go back to 13 September 2010, the minister announced that the government would be launching a large-scale feed-in tariff with an auction capability and that the government would make 40 megawatts available to auction as the first tranche of the large-scale generation category. That was on 13 September last year. At the time, the minister said:

The Government anticipates this auction will occur in the first half of 2011 …

Today is the last day of the first half of 2011, and what we have actually seen is the release of a discussion paper, a briefing sheet or whatever tag you want to put on it.

So with the compromising of the large-scale system, in fact the biggest threat to the large-scale system is the delay from the government in getting the legislation in place and bringing it before this chamber so that we can pass it and get on with bringing in those industrial-scale systems which are the ones that will provide us with a very significant uptake of renewable energy in this city.

The Greens stand ready to deal with that legislation as soon as the government is able to bring it before this chamber. In the meantime, we need a bit less commentary from the minister on the threats to the large-scale system. At the moment the biggest threat is the frustration from those who are waiting to invest that the ACT has not put its scheme in place. That is the threat to large-scale solar at this point. We need to get on with it. It is going to be complex legislation. The auctioning approach is one that has certain particular advantages for the ACT community in seeking out the lowest price, the best value we can get, but it is undoubtedly a complex approach as well, and one that will need careful consideration.

I simply wrap up by saying that there will be more to say at the amendment stage. The Greens will be, I foreshadow now, accepting a number of amendments put forward by Mr Seselja. I believe the minister will move an amendment on reporting, and we will be supporting that as well.

I suspect that this will not be the last discussion on this matter, particularly given the history of the discussion of the feed-in tariff in this chamber. It is ironic that the main problem we seem to have had is the willingness of the community to invest in clean energy. If that is the biggest problem we have this year in the ACT, I would be quite happy. The Greens, of course, are very pleased to see so much renewable energy being invested in in this town—to see Canberrans willing to put their own private capital forward to make that contribution to Canberra becoming the much-vaunted solar capital.

On that basis, I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Question put:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Assembly voted—

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