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Tuesday, 4 June 2013
Page: 5234


Mr BRADBURY (LindsayAssistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting for Deregulation) (18:03): I thank the member for Mackellar for her contribution and note that these issues have been widely canvassed in the course of Senate estimates. But, to the extent that she asked me to comment on these things further, I am be happy to do so.

It is worth reflecting upon the fact that the budget impact of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation was covered in MYEFO 2011-12, which was published back on 29 November 2011. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation Investment Mandate Direction 2013 was subsequently given by the Treasurer and the Minister for Finance and Deregulation on 16 April 2013. In accordance with its investment mandate, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation must apply commercial rigour in assessing all investments. The CEFC must also limit the amount of concessionality it provides in any one financial year to $300 million.

The original budget estimates for the CEFC contained a provision for an up-front write-down of 15 per cent of all new investments under the renewable energy stream. Such investments have the economic substance of grants. Given the commercial expectations now set out in the Clean Energy Finance Corporation's investment mandate, this assumption has been removed from the 2013-14 budget estimates and reflected in the Treasury 2013-14 portfolio budget statement. Given the Clean Energy Finance Corporation measure had been published previously at MYEFO in 2011-12, the impact of the investment mandate is an estimates variation to an already published measure. Further details can be obtained from looking directly at the budget paper.

It is worth noting that these projects that will be funded will very much contribute to this government's commitment to driving investment in renewable clean energy. This has been at the heart of the government's efforts to help us transition from our very considerable dependence upon fossil fuels as a means of generating energy throughout our economy and disconnecting our economic growth path from the previous dependency that we have had on fossil fuels. Certainly the carbon price mechanism has been an important means through which we have been able to deliver that, and I know that significant reductions in overall emissions being generated by energy production have already been yielded in the short time that the carbon price mechanism has been in place.

But we also take the view that it is relevant for targeted investments, obviously, awarded on a basis—

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I could not have been more specific in the questions I asked. They were very specific. I asked: what is the benchmark, what is the definition of commercial investment—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Hall ): The member for Mackellar will please resume her seat.

Mr BRADBURY: It is a matter of public record that the member for Mackellar does not believe that climate change is real, and I note that she does not deny that suggestion. She is one of those members opposite who denies the existence of climate change and man's contribution to it, so it does not surprise me that she would not see the importance of this set of measures.

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop: Madam Deputy Speaker, I again rise on a point of order. I asked very specific questions and I want very specific answers. If the minister is unable to answer—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: If the point of order is on relevance, the minister will answer the questions.

Mr BRADBURY: I must say I am disappointed that the member for Mackellar has sought to absorb so much of my time with her interjections—it has made it very difficult to address the questions she has raised. This government believes in tackling climate change head-on. That is why we have introduced the carbon pricing mechanism and that is why we see appropriately targeted finance as being an important way of addressing this matter. (Time expired)