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Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Page: 5445


Senator BOSWELL (5:13 PM) —I thank Senator Wong for offering me a briefing. I would have preferred for it to be given in the parliament where it goes on the public record. I would have thought that indicating what is a low-income or a middle-income household that would get compensation would not have been that hard. It would have been $50,000 or $40,000—whatever it is. I do want to know how people access the Climate Change Action Fund stream—because there seems to be some money there—that will cover every contingency that may ever show itself on ETS or RET.

There are a lot of people out there who are particularly worried about this issue. I could give many examples, but I have just picked health because I believe it is very relevant. As I said, the non-profit organisations are going to have to find probably $100 million. My question is pretty specific: how do those people access—


Senator Wong —Madam Temporary Chairman, I rise on a point of order relating to relevance. I have attempted to deal with Senator Boswell courteously. What he is raising has nothing to do with renewable energy legislation and nothing to do with the Greens amendments before the chair. It is about another piece of legislation which was debated last week. If he wanted to have this debate then, the government would have been happy to have that debate. But he is choosing to have that debate now in relation to the wrong bill and is certainly not relevant to these amendments.


Senator BOSWELL —On the point of order, these additional costs on health and aged care go to something like $2.7 million. That is relevant to—


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Sen-a-tor Moore)—Senator Boswell—


Senator BOSWELL —I am sorry, Madam Temporary Chairman, could you just hear me out. That is relevant to the RET bill. That is the cost through RET that the industry will face and there will be an additional cost under the ETS. If you do not want to debate the ETS, Minister, I accept that we are on the wrong bill. But if we are not on the wrong bill—


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —Senator Boswell, I take it your response to the point of order is that the issues you raise are relevant to the debate.


Senator BOSWELL —They are relevant because the cost is something like $2.7 million under RET.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —I will allow your questions to continue. If the minister then indicates that they are not relevant to this debate, that will be her response. It will be part of the whole debate. On that basis, if you have questions that you want to put, continue with those questions.


Senator BOSWELL —That is all right. The minister has refused to talk to Catholic Health. Yes, you have, Minister. You can get up and deny it if you like, but my information is that they sought some accommodation with you and you failed to respond. If you want to respond now that would be good. I am sure they would welcome your response. They are very concerned about the renewable energy target and the impact it will have on them financially. They want to know what services they are going to have to reduce. That will be compounded by the $10.8 million, which I will not talk about. If you do not want to answer them, that is okay. Let it stand on the record that you refused to answer them and you refused to take questions in the chamber. I am sure it will be welcomed out there in the Catholic Leader and in all the Catholic newspapers that the minister refused to accommodate the Catholic hospitals or any other hospital.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —I remind the chamber that we are debating the Greens amendments (1) to (6), (9), (11) and (19) on sheet 5816 revised.