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Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Page: 5438


Senator IAN MACDONALD (4:41 PM) —As he indicated, Senator Abetz will be withdrawing certain of the listed opposition amendments later. He has already indicated that the statement that the Minister for Climate Change and Water just made is one that has been negotiated between the parties. Senator Abetz will be back shortly; in fact, he is back now.

Before I leave the debate, I go back to the amendment moved by the Greens, and about which we had some discussion this morning, on the use of biomass and wood waste. Senator Milne read out a long list of groups, indicating that they were opposed to biomass. She did not mention at the time that the World Wide Fund for Nature, WWF, had issued a paper entitled Biopowerswitch: a biomass blueprint to meet 15% of OECD electricity demand by 2020.

This is a very useful publication by WWF. It is a group who I do not always agree with but who I have always thought was sensible, considered and very conscious of its environmental responsibility and advocacy. I wish I had time to read the whole of its document into the Senate, but suffice it to say that WWF is very supportive of biomass and the use of forest waste for the creation of renewable, sustainable energy. I cannot imagine why the Greens did not mention WWF in moving their amendment. It is a very good paper and I would certainly recommend it to anyone who might be listening to the debate. I am sure it is available online.

It does clearly set out that other countries, such as Germany, the United Kingdom and France, are all using biomass—comprising, at least in part, wood waste—for the creation of renewable energy. This document goes through the benefits in some detail: how it helps with the environment, how it helps with jobs and how other countries in the world are doing this. The Greens amendment would have Australia again out by themselves opposing this for nothing other than what are clearly ideological reasons. As I indicated before, the opposition will be opposing the amendment and Senator Abetz will indicate further our position in relation to the matters negotiated with the government.