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Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Page: 6407


Mr BILLSON (10:32 AM) —I just note that the minister has been unable to answer a single question put to him. We had a very learned colleague talk about groundwater and recharge and the fact that our water system is a system, questions that the member for Farrer raised about a very important local issue, nothing on the early termination of solar credits, and I asked him about—


Mr Hayes —Madam Deputy Speaker, I raise a point of order. The time allotted for this debate has finished. To be precise, it was 10.33 am. I did discuss with the opposition whip that the last question would be the last, and the minister is now leaving the table.


The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Ms S Bird)—The member for Werriwa will appreciate that that it is only an indicative time and that the chair would need someone to move that motion.

Opposition members interjecting—


The DEPUTY SPEAKER —If people will come to order. Member for Dunkley, just resume your seat for a moment, please. The member for Werriwa has a point of order?


Mr Hayes —Madam Deputy Speaker, if it comes down to the allotted time, I have to say that the member for Hasluck has been very patiently sitting here all morning but did not get one call. I think the call went to the opposition and she missed out. So if it comes to the allocation of time, please take that into consideration. The agreement was that the minister would be available for questions for a half hour. He started at 10.03 am and, according to that agreement, his time here expired at 10.33 am.


The DEPUTY SPEAKER —I appreciate the point of the member for Werriwa. I just indicate that, for the chair, that is an indicative time and I cannot stop people speaking unless someone moves that the motion be put. The challenge we have is that this is one portfolio and, as I understand it, if the question is put, that will shut off climate change, which I am sure no-one would want.


Mr Hayes —That is the whole thing, Madam Deputy Speaker.


The DEPUTY SPEAKER —So I am going to allow the member for Dunkley to finish his point. The minister might consider taking those matters on notice and providing an answer later, allowing the Main Committee to move on to climate change. I should indicate to the chamber that I did seek to give the member for Hasluck the call in order to give her the chance to contribute, but she did not want to hold up a minister, which I understand perfectly. So I will allow the member for Dunkley to finish his point and suggest that the minister takes any questions on notice.


Mr BILLSON —It is important to note that the speeches have been alternating between sides. The opposition has happily accommodated our learned Independent. The minister’s answers were running down the shot clock, so I will be very brief. Minister, you referred to the $100 million smart grid project. Recognising that no answer has been given to any other question, I will try again. You portrayed the $100 million smart grid project as being fundamental to renewable energy and to efficiency in the energy market. Isn’t it true that the budget paper actually states, quite factually, that that $100 million is to achieve a smart grid outcome for one community of at least 25,000 people—and that is all? There is plenty of discussion that Belgrave has already been selected, so I am interested in your view on that. Isn’t it more accurate to say that this is no more than a demonstration project? This is $100 million for one community of 25,000 people. Do the maths. If this is somehow leading the way for the rest of the continent, that is an extraordinary amount of money the taxpayer will have to provide and will add to our crippling levels of debt. Wouldn’t it be more accurate to characterise that smart grid as a demonstration project at best, leaving very little scope for it to be transported to any other community when it costs $100 million of taxpayer money to prop it up?


Mr Garrett —It’s the kind of thing you would have loved to have done but did not get the chance.


The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Ms S Bird)—The committee will now consider the climate change segment of the portfolio, in accordance with the agreed order of consideration.