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Monday, 7 November 2011
Page: 8286


Senator CORMANN (Western Australia) (11:46): I am well aware of the provisions that are on the public record. I have read through them. They have been subject to discussions at a Senate carbon tax inquiry hearing. The question I am asking you—and you are well aware that I had already flagged that I was not asking for a dollar figure—is whether or not there is going to be any transitional assistance at all for a very signi­ficant electricity generator like Macquarie Generation as a result of how your government has structured the transitional assistance package. That is a question that obviously goes directly to the impact of the carbon tax legislation on energy security and the cost of electricity moving forward, so don't point me to things that we can all read. I am asking you very directly about your understanding of the implications of the way you are proposing this legislation should operate for a significant electricity generator like Macquarie Generation.

The reason I am picking Macquarie Generation is only that they just happened to be on the top of the list that has been released by your department—sorry, the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. I have reverted back to the period pre-election. But this is a list that has been put out there by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. It is very clear and on the public record that Macquarie Generation was responsible in that particular year—I think it was 2009-10—for 23.4 million tonnes of CO2; which, if you multiply that by $23 a tonne, will take you to $538,402,193.

Your government has talked about the fact that there is transitional assistance available for electricity generators to assist them through the transition from a high-carbon to a low-carbon economy. I want to know if Macquarie Generation is going to be eligible for any transitional assistance whatsoever under the $5.5 billion transitional assistance package. That is a pretty straightforward question. The answer could be as short as 'yes' or 'no'. That obviously might lead to some other questions for you to describe what sort of assistance the highest emitting electricity generator would be able to access. If they are not able to access any transitional assistance, I would be interested in knowing why that is. Given that they are responsible for 23.4 million tonnes of emissions, it stands to reason that they are a very significant supplier of electricity into the National Electricity Market.

It is a very simple question. Yes or no: will Macquarie Generation be eligible for any transitional assistance under the govern­ment's $5.5 billion transitional assistance package to assist them from the transition from a pre- to a post-carbon-tax world?