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Thursday, 7 December 2000
Page: 23774

Dr STONE (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage) (2:49 AM) —I move:

That the bill be now read a second time.

The Renewable Energy (Electricity) (Charge) Amendment Bill 2000 bill amends the application of the provisions of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) (Charge) Act 2000 to coincide with amendments to the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Bill 2000 which delay the commencement of the mandatory renewable energy target.

The Renewable Energy (Electricity) (Charge) Act 2000 imposes the rate of penalty for non-compliance with the mandatory renewable energy target, to be implemented through the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Bill 2000.

The delay in finalising the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Bill 2000 has meant that the commencement of the scheme must be delayed by several months. The government has moved amendments in the Senate to delay the commencement of the scheme until 1 April 2001.

However, the Renewable Energy (Electricity) (Charge) Act 2000, as it currently stands, will impose the penalty of $40 per megawatt hour for the year commencing 1 January 2001. As the renewable energy target will not now commence on this date, the Renewable Energy (Electricity) (Charge) Act 2000 is being amended so that the obligations imposed under the mandatory renewable energy target and the penalty for non-compliance with those obligations commence at the same time.

These amendments have also been amended in the Senate so that the rate of charge, which the Renewable Energy (Electricity) (Charge) Act 2000 imposes, has been indexed to the consumer price index.

The government does not accept the opposition's amendment to the Renewable Energy (Electricity) (Charge) Amendment Bill 2000, which aims to index the shortfall charge to the CPI. The Renewable Energy (Electricity) Bill 2000 passed by the Senate includes a specific provision to review the possibility and need for CPI indexation after the measure has been in operation for two years. This makes the need for CPI indexation now redundant. The government therefore supports the proposition originally put by Senator Bolkus that this question be reviewed in two years time.

I commend this bill to the House and I present the revised explanatory memorandum.

Leave granted for second reading debate to continue forthwith.