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Tuesday, 10 December 2002
Page: 7655

Senator Nettle asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade, upon notice, on 17 September 2002:

With reference to the Australian Government policy on fossil fuels and renewable energy:

(1) On what timeframe, in years, are the Government's energy policies based.

(2) In order for Australia's renewable energy sector to capture a larger share of the international energy market, does the Government acknowledge that a more active approach needs to be taken in the phasing-out of fossil fuels.

(3) What is the Government's position on the use of gas as a transition fuel from fossil fuel energy production to a renewable energy alternative.

(4) In the light of the need for transition to renewable energy, what is the Government doing to actively assist countries in the Asia-Pacific region to phase out the use of fossil fuels in energy production.

(5) With reference to the answer to question on notice no. 186 (Senate Hansard, 14 May 2002, p. 1495) in which the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources stated that, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines are considered to be important emerging markets for coal. The governments strategy is to support improvements in the Australian industry's international competitiveness through economic and industry reforms in Australia, to address trade and other barriers that may restrict access to these markets, provide factual material, and to address technical and environmental issues by facilitating bilateral and other exchanges with these countries: (a) where does the Government see the largest potential export market for Australian renewable energy emerging; and (b) what strategies are being adopted by the Australian Government to ensure the Australian renewable energy industry is able to capitalise on this emerging market.

(6) Given that in the answer to question on notice no. 186 the Minister also stated, the department does not provide specific funding for coal trade promotion activities: in what way are documents such as the sixth edition of Australia's Export Coal Industry, produced by the Department of Industry, Science and Resources, not a promotional activity.

Senator Hill (Minister for Defence) —The Minister for Trade has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

The details requested in the honourable senator's question are not readily available from a single source. To collect and assemble such information solely for the purpose of answering the honourable senator's question would be a major task and I am not prepared to authorise the expenditure of resources and effort that would be involved.