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Thursday, 1 November 2012
Page: 8790


Senator WILLIAMS (New South WalesNationals Whip in the Senate) (13:51): I would like to make three comments about the inquiry and the report. I was fortunate enough to go to the Liddell power station last week, where they have a solar-thermal project in place to assist in the production of steam to run the four turbines. There are 30,000 square metres of mirrors at a cost of $16 million. You would think that, if you invested $16 million, it would be a great contribution for the steam pressure to drive the turbines. What are the problems with it? The first is keeping the mirrors clean. There is a lot of dust in that area. Of course they are very happy when the rain comes to clean the mirrors. They clean the mirrors with a machine to try and get some more effect.

Remember that figure: $16 million. We said to them, 'How much does this save you as far as burning coal?' The chap said, 'Around 3,000 tonnes a year.' I said: 'What is that on percentage?' He said, 'That is one-quarter of one per cent of what one turbine uses.' I said, 'In other words, it is one-sixteenth of one per cent of what you burn with Loy Yang power station a year? It is $16 million to save one-sixteenth of one per cent. What a waste of $16 million. We could have done a lot with that for hospitals or somewhere else around the bush.'

Senator Ludlam: Keep burning coal.

Senator WILLIAMS: I will take the interjection from Senator Ludlam. Last year China burnt 3.1 billion tonnes of coal. That was an increase of 434 million tonnes in 12 months. Australia produced 421 million tonnes in total domestic and export coal in that time. China increased its consumption by more than what the whole of Australia produced. And Senator Ludlam is going to save the planet by shutting down all of our coalmines. No, he will not. It is not going to alter anything. China will go to 17.6 billion tonnes of CO2 by 2020. They are the figures. So how are you going to save the planet when $16 million worth of mirrors are not even clean enough to check yourself in? What a waste of money.

I want to get to another point about the carbon tax. A couple of weeks ago, I was challenged to table the accounts from GrainCorp Australia in Tamworth that show they are paying around $30,000 a month for the carbon tax. I tabled them. Senator Conroy was begging for me to table them, as was Senator Evans. Since I have tabled those figures I have not heard a squeak from them. I wonder why? The carbon tax component is costing that business around $350,000 a year. There is your problem. Senator Kim Carr, said, 'We dare you to table them.' I tabled them all right. Where is your comment back? A bill of $350,000 a year for a business in Tamworth that employs 68 people! They can thank Mr Windsor for it. That is who they can thank for driving the carbon tax.

The fact is that the network in New South Wales was neglected for 16 years because of incompetent, corrupt Labor governments. There is the problem. IPART—the independent pricing authority—is raising the price of electricity in New South Wales. The carbon tax is more than half of that increase. So this is about the neglect of the network by the Labor Party as well as the carbon tax. Our competitors overseas are not putting up with this. They do not have to pay for it. All this carbon tax will do is make our businesses less competitive, threaten jobs, threaten businesses and make a field day for the liquidators.

The Greens might think that a cost of $16 million to save one-quarter of one per cent of coal being burnt is going to change the planet. No, it is not. It is going to change what is in your pocket; it is going to change your bank account. It is not going to change the planet.