Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 August 2015) . . Page.. 2296 ..
confirm that coal is the single biggest contributor to climate change and that the impacts are felt most by poorer people through events such as floods, droughts, cyclones and changes to food patterns. How would this be good for humanity, or did the Prime Minister mean that embracing coal is good for profits?
With such a biased record in favour of coal and against renewable energy it came as no surprise when the Prime Minister issued a directive banning the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the CEFC, from investing in new wind farms and small-scale solar projects. This is on the back of the government attempting for a second time in March 2014 to abolish the CEFC, but the legislation was blocked in the Senate. This directive, along with the funding reduction this federal government has forced on the Australian Renewable Energy Agency—ARENA—is undoubtedly irresponsible, short sighted and based on ignorance. This cannot be said to be the actions of a responsible government.
By acting in this manner the federal government fail to see the social and economic importance of embracing renewable energy and the detrimental effect of their actions. They failed to acknowledge that the status quo cannot continue. They ultimately fail to understand that refusing to believe in climate change and its causes does not stop it happening. The head-in-the sand approach never worked.
Let me outline what responsible leaders and governments do when they are faced with long-term threats such as those we are faced with today. You only have to look at what this Labor government is doing to see an example of this. We recognise that not only does investing in renewable energy play an important role in addressing climate change but it also ensures that we develop and take advantage of the skills, technology and jobs that come with it.
We have not only established a nation-leading target of 90 per cent renewable energy generation by 2020, but the actions we have taken so far have placed the ACT well on track to achieve this target. We know wind is the lowest cost renewable energy generation available, and that will play a major role in achieving our target. The 200 megawatt wind auction undertaken by this government has secured some of Australia’s best wind resources so that renewable energy can be delivered to the Canberra community at the lowest possible price. Only recently we were pleased to learn that Renewable Energy Systems, RES, one of the three winners in the wind auction, was successful in securing funds, becoming the second to achieve this. When the project is completed, RES will provide enough renewable energy to power around 37,000 houses in Canberra, which will help reduce the territory’s emissions by approximately 260,000 tonnes per annum by 2020.
You will be glad to know that RES has also committed to the renewable in schools program, which is part of the ACT government’s renewable energy industry development strategy. Ten schools have been selected as part of this program, which will enable them to reduce their carbon footprint. Canberra high, which is in my electorate and your electorate, Mr Assistant Speaker, and the Theodore Primary School in Brindabella are set to be the first carbon neutral schools. Others in my electorate to benefit from this initiative include Evatt and Weetangera primary schools.