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Tuesday, 12 November 2002
Page: 6170


Senator O'Brien asked the Minister for Forestry and Conservation, upon notice, on 15 October 2002:

(1) Since 1999, what research programs have been conducted by or sponsored by Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Australia (AFFA) in order to examine the potential of coal/woodchip blending to reduce emissions from power stations.

(2) Who conducted each program.

(3) When did each program start.

(4) When did each program finish.

(5) Of those programs not yet finished, when are they expected to be completed.

(6) How much has the Commonwealth expended on each program.

(7) Since 1999, what research programs have been conducted by or sponsored by AFFA in order to undertake comparative life-cycle analyses of wood products compared with other building materials, looking specifically at greenhouse gas implications and providing results that can be used for carbon accounting.

(8) Who conducted each program.

(9) When did each program start.

(10) When did each program finish.

(11) Of those programs not yet finished, when are they expected to be completed.

(12) How much has the Commonwealth expended on each program.


Senator Ian Macdonald (Minister for Forestry and Conservation) —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

In preparing this response, I note that Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Australia (AFFA) does not directly conduct or sponsor research programmes in these areas, but participates in partnership arrangements that involve such research programmes. The answers that follow relate to two partnership arrangements:

(a) R&D Corporations financed by industry levies and matching Government contributions, for rural research and development under the Primary Industries and Energy R&D Act 1989 (PIERD Act); and

(b) membership of Bioenergy Australia, a group comprising Government and industry organisations with the aim of information sharing and promoting the development of biomass to energy projects in Australia. Bioenergy Australia participates in International Energy Association (IEA) research programmes with a range of international participants.

(1) Since 1999, through Bioenergy Australia AFFA has participated in IEA Bioenergy Task 32: Biomass Combustion and Co-firing. The programme examines inter alia the potential of coal/woodchip blending to reduce emissions from power stations.

(2) An international team led by the Institute of Environmental Sciences, Energy Research and Process Innovation, Netherlands.

(3) January 2001.

(4) Not applicable.

(5) December 2003.

(6) Total Commonwealth contribution $7,800 including $3,000 from AFFA and the Bureau of Rural Sciences for five IEA Bioenergy tasks.

(7) Since 1999, AFFA has:

(a) participated in IEA Bioenergy Task 38: Greenhouse Balances of Biomass and Bioenergy Systems. The programme includes a comparative life cycle analysis of wood products; and

(b) three R&D Corporations (Rural Industries R&D Corporation, Land and Water and the Forest and Wood Products R&D Corporation) have co-funded a research programme that developed the Carbon Farmer model to assist advisers and farmers to decide whether to engage in the cultivation of trees in order to sequester carbon and obtain tradable rights in that carbon.

(8) (a) an international team led by the Institute of Energy Research, Austria; and

(b) Hassall and Associates.

(9) (a) January 2001; and

(b) April 2000.

(10) (a) Not applicable; and

(b) May 2001.

(11) (a) December 2003; and

(b) not applicable.

(12) (a) see (6) above; and

(b) total cost of the Carbon Farmer project $47,703.