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Thursday, 25 August 2011
Page: 5534


Senator COLBECK (Tasmania) (12:24): Mr President, I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for two minutes.

Senator COLBECK: Senator Ludwig is right: I have been provoked by previous statements to make a short statement. One thing on which I do agree with Senator Ludwig is that the use of biomass is, in fact, carbon neutral although the science that I have seen recently indicates that it is some­thing, in a life-cycle sense, like only four per cent of the CO2 emissions of coal, so it is certainly a viable and sensible utilisation of our natural resource. Obviously, the oppo­sition does not support the government's view that biomass from native wood stocks should be ruled out of access to renewable energy certificates. It is the opposition's view that a sensibly scaled biomass sector is a very viable use of the resource that exists and, in fact, we are aware that up to 8,000 gigawatt hours of energy could be produced from existing sources without cutting down another tree, without any further impact on the forest. So that resource is, in fact, going to waste and could be utilised quite sensibly to reduce our CO2 emissions. The govern­ment, obviously because of the influence of the Greens, has gone down the track of removing that capacity to reduce our CO2 emissions by ruling out the use of native forest biomass in the renewable energy process. We do not think that is a sensible way to go, when you are ruling out a resource that even the WWF has set an OECD target of 15 per cent of energy generated from renewables via biomass. We see this as a sensible course to follow and obviously we do not support the govern­ment's or the Greens' position.

Question put:

That the motion (Senator Rhiannon's ) be agreed to.

The Senate divided. [12:31]

(The President—Senator the Hon. JJ Hogg)

Question negatived.