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Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Page: 5468


Senator BOB BROWN (Leader of the Australian Greens) (6:26 PM) —I move Australian Greens amendment (13) on sheet 5816 revised:

(13)  Schedule 1, item 8, page 9 (line 18) to page 10 (before line 1), omit the item, substitute:

8  Section 40

Repeal the section, substitute:

40  Required GWh of renewable source electricity

         (1)    The required GWh of renewable source electricity for the years 2001 to 2009 is set out in the following table:

Required GWh of renewable source electricity

Year

GWh

2001

300

2002

1100

2003

1800

2004

2600

2005

3400

2006

4500

2007

5600

2008

6800

2009

8100

         (2)    The required GWh of renewable source electricity for the years 2010 to 2030 is set out in the following table:

Required GWh of renewable source electricity as a percentage of total electricity produced

Year

GWh

2010

11.4%

2011

13.2%

2012

15.1%

2013

16.9%

2014

18.8%

2015

20.7%

2016

22.5%

2017

24.4%

2018

26.3%

2019

28.1%

2020

30%

2021

30%

2022

30%

2023

30%

2024

30%

2025

30%

2026

30%

2027

30%

2028

30%

2029

30%

2030

30%

         (3)    The Minister by 30 September each year must cause to be prepared and tabled a report estimating for subsequent years the GWh of renewable source electricity to which the percentage targets in subsection (2) are likely to equate.

         (4)    The Minister must review and increase the target specified in subsection (2) for a year if the value of a renewable energy certificate is below $40 for more than 6 months.

This is an important amendment, and this is certainly one that will show the space between the Greens and the two older parties. The amendment reviews the target and it effectively increases the target to 30 per cent of renewable energy to be delivered by 2020.


Senator Boswell interjecting—


Senator BOB BROWN —I hear Senator Boswell laughing about that. I do not know why. I did see one figure of 28,000 jobs being created by the 20 per cent figure—


Senator Boswell —What nonsense!


Senator BOB BROWN —Senator Boswell says ‘nonsense’ to that. That is his attitude and the National Party’s attitude to the creation of jobs—mostly in rural and regional Australia, I might add. By adopting this amendment, you could guarantee another 10,000-plus jobs being created in Australia and the internal competition between the different renewable energy options being somewhat relieved.

The minister has added to her 20 per cent target the advantageous gases coming from coalmining to be used to produce energy. But a much wiser proposition here is to have Australia catch up a little bit with the rest of the world. Our targets are way behind those for renewable energy in countries like Austria, Denmark, Norway and a whole range of other European countries, and New Zealand. This is simply going some way towards giving the renewable energy industry the boost that it deserves to get.

The opposition to that is the coal based industries. I used that figure of 28,000 as a potential outcome from the renewable energy industry coming from this legislation, but it can be much bigger. Using 2007 figures, that is the equivalent of the jobs held by the whole of the coalmining industry in Australia. But we are not talking about replacing them; we are giving them alternatives here—including to many of them in rural and regional Australia—to an industry which is going to see job shedding in the coming decades simply because the world is turning away from coal. It is a very important difference you see here between the Greens and the coalition and the Labor Party.

This amendment would set this country on the road to renewable energy much faster. This amendment of itself would stimulate research and development as well as stimulate the manufacturing, the deployment and the maintenance of renewable energies right across this country. There would be a multi-thousand-dollar spin-off from it. It would inevitably increase our export industries, because they go hand in hand with the domestic research, development and production of renewable energy in this country. We think it is still a very conservative target for a nation like ours. The whole driver of this is climate change.

I reiterate to the chamber the point of view of global economists like Sir Nicholas Stern that countries which take a lead in environmental technology will be those with the strongest economies in the coming decades. The target, as it is in this government’s legislation, leaves us way behind other countries. This amendment is the Greens modestly increasing that target to see that we go somewhere towards matching the rest of the world. It is basic.

Senator Wong has been talking about what the government took to the last election. The Greens took much stronger proposals for a green new deal, if you like, to the last election, and we will be going to the next election with updated proposals to put the Australian economy in the forefront of this new age of green technology—the greening of manufacturing and the greening of whole economies. We are lagging way behind that under this government, as we did under the last government. The Greens are a stimulus to achieving that and here is a legislative opportunity to help Australia move into an age of reaping the benefits of environmental technology, not least through small business. This is a gift to small Australian enterprises—putting money as well as clean energy into local communities and creating jobs in local communities. I commend the amendment to the chamber.