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Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Page: 5364


Senator MILNE (12:02 PM) —by leave—I move Australian Greens amendments (1) to (6), (9), (11) and (19) on sheet 5816 revised together:

(1)    Clause 2, page 2 (at the end of the table), add:

10.  Schedule 4

The day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent.

(2)    Clause 3, page 3 (lines 1 to 5), omit the clause, substitute:

3  Schedule(s)

         (1)    Each Act, and each set of regulations, that is specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule concerned, and any other item in a Schedule to this Act has effect according to its terms.

         (2)    The amendment of any regulation under subsection (1) does not prevent the regulation, as so amended, from being amended or repealed by the Governor-General.

(3)    Schedule 1, page 4 (after line 25), after item 3, insert:

3AAA  Subsection 5(1) (definition of solar water heater)

Repeal the definition, substitute:

solar water heater means a device that heats water using solar energy and includes heat pump water heaters.

(4)    Schedule 1, page 5 (after line 2), after item 3A, insert:

3AA  Section 8

Omit “solar water heaters or”.

(5)    Schedule 1, page 6 (after line 12), after item 3L, insert:

3LA  At the end of subsection 17(2)

Add:

            ; (c)    solar energy used by solar water heaters, including heat pump water heaters;

              (d)    biomass from native vegetation of any kind.

(6)    Schedule 1, page 7 (after line 14), after item 3Q, insert:

3R  Subdivision B of Division 4 of Part 2

Repeal the Subdivision.

(9)    Schedule 1, page 8 (after line 10), after item 7, insert:

7AA  Subdivision BB of Division 4 of Part 2

Repeal the Subdivision, substitute:

Subdivision BB—Small generation unit return

23F  Small generation unit return

         (1)    If the sum of the number of certificates created by a person during a year under Subdivision BA exceeds 250, the person must give a return for the year to the Regulator on or before:

              (a)    14 February in the following year; or

              (b)    any later day allowed by the Regulator.

         (2)    The return must include details of:

              (a)    the number of certificates the person created under that Subdivision during the year; and

              (b)    the number of certificates the person is entitled to create that Subdivision because of rights assigned to the person under subsection 23C(2) during the year; and

              (c)    any other information specified by the regulations.

(11)  Schedule 1, page 8 (lines 14 to 16), omit item 7B, substitute:

7B  Section 25A

Repeal the section, substitute:

25A  Form and content of certificates—small generation units

         (1)    Certificates under Subdivision BA of Division 4 are to be created in an electronic form approved in writing by the Regulator.

         (2)    Each certificate is to contain:

              (a)    the registered person’s registration number; and

              (b)    the year; and

              (c)    a number in an unbroken sequence that is used for all certificates created in respect of the small generation unit concerned in that year and that starts at one and has increments of one; and

              (d)    the electronic signature of the registered person who created the certificate; and

              (e)    the date on which the small generation unit concerned was installed; and

               (f)    details of the eligible energy source in respect of which the certificate was created; and

              (g)    the date on which the certificate was created.

(19)  Page 24 (after line 20), at the end of the bill, add:

Schedule 4—Amendment of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Regulations 2001

Part 1—Solar water heaters

1  Subregulation 3(1) (definition of accredited body)

Repeal the definition.

2  Subregulation 3(1) (definition of component certification)

Repeal the definition.

3  Subregulation 3(1) (definition of product certification)

Repeal the definition.

4  Subregulation 3(1) (definition of Register of solar water heaters)

Repeal the definition.

5  Regulation 3A

Repeal the regulation.

6  Subdivision 2.3.2

Repeal the Subdivision.

7  Application of item 6

To avoid doubt, the repeal of Subdivision 2.3.2 of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Regulations 2001 made by item 6 means that certificates can no longer be created for the installation of heat pump water heaters.

8  Division 2.4

Repeal the Division, substitute:

Division 2.4  Small generation unit returns

20C                Information to be included in return (Act s 23F)

For paragraph 23F (2) (d) of the Act, a small generation unit return must include the following information:

                (a)      the year to which the return relates;

                     (b)      the person’s registration number;

                      (c)      the telephone number, fax number and e-mail address (if any) of the person;

                     (d)      the number and type of unit for which a certificate was created in the year and the period of time for which the certificate was created;

                      (e)      details of any certificates assigned under subsection 23C (2) of the Act;

                      (f)      the number of certificates found ineligible for registration in the year;

                     (g)      the reasons for certificates being found ineligible for registration in the year;

                     (h)      the process used by the person to ensure that certificates created or assigned under Subdivision BA of Division 4 of Part 2 of the Act are eligible for registration.

Note         For other information that must also be included in the return, see Act, subsection 23F (2).

9  Paragraph 28(1)(b)

Omit “23 (2) or”.

10  Subregulation 28(2) (table)

Omit “or solar water heater” (twice occurring).

11  Subregulation 28(2) (table item 1)

Omit “23 (2) or”.

12  Schedule 4

Repeal the Schedule.

Part 2—Wood waste

13  Paragraph 8(1)(d)

Omit “; and”, substitute “.”.

14  Paragraph 8(1)(e)

Repeal the paragraph.

15  Subregulations 8(2), (3) and (4)

Repeal the subregulations.

16  Subregulation 9(2)

Repeal the subregulation, substitute:

         (2)    For section 17 of the Act, biomass from native vegetation is not an energy crop.


Senator Boswell —Mr Temporary Chairman, if Senator Milne moves her amendments, does that cut out all further general debate on this bill or can we continue? Senator Macdonald and I want to debate some of these issues that are not related to the Greens amendments.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Bernardi)—The call is with Senator Milne. There is a relevance question, of course, related to the debate but chairs have previously interpreted relevance quite widely and I would anticipate that we will continue to do so.


Senator MILNE —I return to the amendments, which the Greens have moved, and the two components of these amendments. Solar water heaters and heat pumps are no longer eligible to create certificates, and biomass from native vegetation is no longer an eligible renewable energy source. I just want to go back to the minister’s response in relation to what I had to say about heat pumps and solar hot water crowding out, from the renewable energy target, new renewable energy generation technologies.

Those that are likely to be impacted most are things like concentrating solar thermal and hot-rock geothermal because, to date, these technologies have not played a significant part in the MRET to the end of 2008. In fact it is around 0.01 per cent of the total from geothermal anyway. But they are seen as having great potential in the longer term. What the minister said was that her modelling does not suggest it is going to be a problem. It seems to me that if you have academics saying it is going to be 20 per cent of the RETs to 2020 that are going to be taken up by these technologies, there is a vast difference between what that modelling shows and what the government says. So I would like to have further detail about whether the government can confirm that, to date, about 24 per cent of all the RETs generated to the end of 2008 have come from solar and heat-pump water heaters. If that is the case they are going to crowd out renewable energy, and I return to my point that it should be over the top, as indeed the coal gas is, because it is not renewable energy. It is energy efficiency—we like it, we love it and we want it to be there—but we do not want it to crowd out renewable energy. We want 20 per cent of renewables.

The other point I want to make is taking out the burning of native forests to generate energy. This is an absolute disgrace and it ought not to be classified as a renewable energy source. We have the largest carbon stores in the Southern Hemisphere being logged. Just because the industry can say, ‘Our intention is to log them for sawlog,’ the other 90 per cent of the forest therefore goes as woodchips and is eligible to be burnt in a furnace. I want a guarantee from the minister that not one single renewable energy certificate is going to be generated from native forests that are logged in Tasmania, Victoria or New South Wales.

We have had many forest campaigners say that they are ready to go into action over this. As soon as the government tries to continue this rort by encouraging the logging of native forests to burn there will be court cases. And, of course, there will be court cases over this because it is so wrong. It is doublespeak and doublethink to go to Copenhagen and say that we are interested in reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation. We tell the Indonesians we are going to provide $200 million to stop them logging their forests and here we are putting the logging and burning of native forests into a so-called renewable energy target.

This is nothing more than a propping-up program for failing native forest businesses. That is what this is. It is the loggers saying they can no longer sell native forest woodchips overseas because the world does not want them and the result is that the price has dropped. This is a propping-up mechanism and it should not be tolerated. Apart from just saying it is government policy to log native forests and to support regional forest agreements, which destroy biodiversity, which destroy native forests, I would like to hear a justification for destroying ecosystems for supposedly renewable energy. It is not renewable energy; it is ecosystem destruction.