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Wednesday, 15 February 2006
Page: 67

Dr JENSEN (2:59 PM) —My question is addressed to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources. Would the minister outline to the House government and industry efforts to secure a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions? Are there any alternative policies?

Mr IAN MACFARLANE (Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources) —I thank the member for Tangney for his question and also for his strong interest in the provision of scientific solutions to greenhouse gas emissions. This government stands proud of its record on greenhouse gas abatement. Greenhouse gas emissions will rise only eight per cent between 1990 and 2010 while, during a similar time, the economy will almost double in size. It is by any global measure an impressive result and one which Australian industry is very much a part of achieving. The aluminium smelting industry, a member of the government’s Greenhouse Challenge program, has cut emissions by 48 per cent per tonne of product produced, while the cement industry has likewise achieved cuts of some 15 per cent per tonne of product produced.

Industry action continues to be mobilised through government initiatives, such as our $500 million low emissions technology demonstration fund, the $100 million Renewable Energy Development Initiative, the $75 million Solar Cities initiative and, more recently, the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, including a further $100 million towards that process, of which some $25 million is exclusively set aside for renewable energy. It is by any measure a sign of the government’s practical approach that keeps our economy strong and makes inroads into greenhouse gas emissions.

I am asked by the member for Tangney about alternative policies. Almost two years after the government unveiled its $700 million energy white paper, the Leader of the Opposition says he is almost ready to respond. Of course, along with the member for Grayndler, the Leader of the Opposition remains blindly and ideologically committed to a Beazley government ratifying the Kyoto protocol and sending Australian jobs offshore. But the voices of reason within Labor are starting to sound on these matters. The member for Batman—and he knows this is coming—has said:

It’s time to abandon the political correctness espoused by the green movement ... Let’s be real: without getting business on board we cannot achieve anything.

If the Leader of the Opposition is fair dinkum about Australian jobs then he should take some advice from the member for Hunter, who said recently on his local radio station that the Kyoto protocol is ‘pretty much dead in the water’.

The government has the balance right between jobs, growth and greenhouse gas reductions—practical solutions to a global problem rather than the pontificating and idealism that we see from the Leader of the Opposition. Some on the ALP front bench are acknowledging the government’s progress in this area. It is about time the Leader of the Opposition did that as well and got behind sensible policies to deal with climate change.