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Thursday, 25 August 2011
Page: 5533


Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (12:19): by leave—Under the recent carbon price agreement, biomass electricity generation from native forest feedstocks is no longer eligible for renewable energy certificates. It is now widely recognised that native feedstock is not a sustainable power source. It has no part in our renewable energy future. The South East Fibre Exports Pty Ltd, which is owned by Nippon Paper and operated by the Eden chip mill is planning to build a biomass fired power station in Eden in the south-east of New South Wales. This plant would inevitably burn for fuel the woodchips produced from logging the stunning native forests that are so valuable ecologically and economically. The woodchip mill's operations are heavily subsidised by the New South Wales government, and it is an environmental outrage that excess woodchips could now be incinerated to produce electricity. It would be a big setback for the commercial viability of the Eden biomass power plant if they were given any funding. People across Australia are watching closely the developments in Eden to see what happens next, because if funding came through from another source it would certainly open up this industry to the possibility of being developed in other areas.

I urge the member for Eden-Monaro and the minister for forestry to give a guarantee to the public that they will not seek any backdoor means of giving federal funding to the proposed Eden biomass power plant. The question is often asked: why don't we use this waste? This is not waste. It is part of the whole forest process, and the ongoing concern is that, if this biomass power plant was built, it would establish infrastructure that would drive the woodchipping of these beautiful native forests for decades to come.