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Thursday, 14 May 2009
Page: 2807


Senator LUDWIG (Minister for Human Services) (10:03 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows—

Nation-Building Funds Amendment Bill 2009 (the Bill) is required to give effect to the infrastructure spending announced in the Government’s 2009-10 Budget.

To provide funding for these priorities, the Bill repeals the crediting of $2.5 billion from the 2007-08 budget surplus to the Education Investment Fund that was to occur by 30 June 2009.  This amount will be made available for the new Clean Energy Initiative.

The Clean Energy Initiative will encourage further research and innovation in clean energy generation and low emissions technologies.  The Government will use the Clean Energy Initiative to help accelerate the development and deployment of carbon capture and storage, solar energy and other forms of renewable energy.  These technologies will play an important role in Australia’s transition to a low pollution economy.

There will still be more than $6.5 billion in the Education Investment Fund for education and research infrastructure, of which $4.1 billion has been committed in the 2009-10 Budget and in the nation-building package announced by the Prime Minister on 12 December 2008.  The balance of $2.4 billion plus investment earnings, estimated to be around $630 million over the forward estimates, will be available for future education and research projects.

The Government’s nation-building investments will help support economic activity in the short tem and expand growth potential in the medium to long term.

Ordered that further consideration of the second reading of this bill be adjourned to the first sitting day of the next period of sittings, in accordance with standing order 111.