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Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Page: 5478


Senator BOB BROWN (Leader of the Australian Greens) (7:14 PM) —I move Australian Greens revised amendment (16) on sheet 5886:

(R16)       Schedule 1, item 9, page 11 (lines 1 to 16), omit section 162, substitute:

162  Biennial review of operation of renewable energy legislation

         (1)    The Minister must cause an independent review of the following to be undertaken as soon as practicable after 30 June 2012 and every 2 years after that date:

              (a)    the operation this Act and the scheme constituted by this Act;

              (b)    the adequacy of the renewable energy target set by this Act;

              (c)    the operation of the regulations;

              (d)    the operation of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) (Charge) Act 2000;

              (e)    the diversity of renewable energy access to the scheme constituted by this Act;

               (f)    a cost benefit analysis of the environmental impact of that access.

         (2)    A review must be undertaken by a person who, in the Minister’s opinion, possesses appropriate qualifications to undertake the review.

         (3)    The person undertaking a review must give the Minister a written report of the review before 31 December in that year.

         (4)    The Minister must cause a copy of the report to be tabled in each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after the day on which the report is given to the Minister.

         (5)    The report is not a legislative instrument.

This amendment provides for biennial reviews of the functioning of the legislation and to provide information from those reviews to the parliament so that we can get an assessment of how it is going. It is inevitable in this fast-changing field of energy legislation that there is going to be a need for informed parliaments all the way down the line able to review what is happening and improve upon legislation, no matter what we might think of this. I thank Senator Xenophon, on behalf of Senator Milne, who came to the same conclusion on the value of these reviews.

There may be some anxiety about the debating of this amendment. This will not take long, and there are a couple of other amendments to come, which means we are unlikely to get through this tonight. But it will pass on the morning. The indications are that it will, and the Greens have every intention to see this legislation through this place before we rise tomorrow. That said, I commend this amendment to the chamber.