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Thursday, 18 August 2011
Page: 4846


Senator LUDWIG (QueenslandMinister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Manager of Government Business in the Senate and Minister Assisting the Attorney-General on Queensland Floods Recovery) (13:54): Than you for that, Senator Birmingham. The government understands the issue faced by LMS Generation, issues which are added to by the coalition—but I will leave that aside. However, these amendments seek to bypass the independent process that the government has established for assessing methodologies, which is the Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee. The rules for setting baselines are set out in the methodologies. These need to be supported by credible evidence and assessed by the Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee; that is the gateway in.

The government is working with the landfill industry on approaches for setting baselines for existing landfill projects under GGAS and Greenhouse Friendly in the government's landfill methodology. The gateway is through DOIC—establish the methodology, set the baselines for existing projects under GGAS and Greenhouse Friendly. The government recognises the value of a standardised approach to baseline setting for existing landfill projects that have been operating under GGAS and Greenhouse Friendly. It is something we recognise. The government will consult on appropriate baselines, with a view to having the matters resolved within the next month. Standardised baselines would be included in the landfill methodologies and assessed by the Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee before being approved by the minister and laid before parliament as disallowable instruments.

In saying all of that, we do not support the amendments. We do not see the need for the amendments. We can deal with it within the existing framework. Ostensibly we will all land at the same place. I think we are all in screaming agreement that we need to do something in this area. I cannot make any stronger commitment than the words that I have used. They are as strong as we can give. I will say them again: the government will consult on appropriate baselines, with a view to having the matters resolved within the next month. It is clearly within our intention. I cannot put any stronger words than those, and I am sure that you will be able to draw your conclusions from that. On that basis, we do not support the amendments. We do understand where the amendments are going. It is also pleasing that those opposite underĀ­stand that it is imperative to pass the bill.