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Thursday, 18 June 2009
Page: 3657

Senator BOSWELL (9:39 AM) —I totally disagree with the Greens here.

Senator O’Brien —That’s a first!

Senator BOSWELL —Well, it is. We were actually coming together on lot of issues, but I suppose we have to part. I support Senator Fielding’s proposition. Once the government linked the RET with the CPRS, the game was over. I will tell you why it was over. It was over because the CPRS legislation starts on 1 July, if it gets through, and the RET starts immediately, so that would mean that the really big EITE employers, the aluminium industry, the cement industry, the paper industry, the zinc industry, the steel industry—just about every industry in Australia that would be given permits—would have no permits and would be subject to being out there with no permits at all. The Greens senators have agreed with this. They believe that tying the two bills together was blackmail. What are we expected to do—just roll over and take this? Senator Milne is. She talks about job creation, but I want to talk about job destruction.

The other reason that you cannot go ahead with this without a full Senate inquiry is that the regulations that underpin the EITE industries’ targets or certificates are not known. Unless you know what the regulations are going to be, you are flying right in the face of a disaster without knowing where you are going. There are ongoing discussions between the industries now on what EITE activities are and what certificates are going to be given—whether they are 66 per cent or 94 per cent—and even the activities have not been defined. The agenda is whether they are on all the products or only part of the product or only part of the way that they are manufactured. This has not been decided yet. The activities have not been decided. How can you establish a regulation unless you know what the EITE activities are going to be? You cannot. Without establishing what the activities will be, what the regulations will be and whether they will be 60 per cent or 90 per cent or 55 per cent, it is just impossible to move this legislation through. Senator Milne has been in the paper saying that, totally disagreeing—

Senator Milne interjecting—

Senator BOSWELL —Senator Milne says you can split them. You cannot split them if you do not know what the regulations are going to be. The regulations have not been determined because the EITE issue has not been agreed with the high-end electricity users. They were promised certificates. They were promised that they would get some form of relief. The industries are still in negotiations with the government. The cement industry are not aware of what certificates they are going to get. They know they are going to get some certificates; they do not know whether it is on just part of the manufacturing process or the total manufacturing process—and that is just the cement industry. All the other industries are in the same boat.

If the regulations were there, I would say you could go ahead with it, but the regulations are not there and they cannot be there for the reason that the negotiations are still going on with the high-end users of electricity. So I do not know what the rush is, Senator Milne, because you—

Senator Milne interjecting—

Senator BOSWELL —People are going to lose their jobs all right; you are totally correct about that. But if this goes ahead without protection in the EITE industry part they are going to lose their jobs and they are going to lose— (Time expired)