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Thursday, 27 March 2014
Page: 2360

Senator RONALDSON (VictoriaMinister for Veterans' Affairs, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC and Special Minister of State) (18:01): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows—

This Bill, repealing the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act 2012, delivers on our election commitment to abolish the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

The CEFC was established on 3 August 2012 and was given a wide remit to lend taxpayers' borrowed money. The CEFC extended the reach of the carbon tax by creating a $10 billion fund to invest in renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency projects.

From the outset, the concept of the CEFC overlapped with the 20 per cent renewable energy target. By itself, this target encourages investment in renewable energy. The target does not need to be accompanied by $10 billion of borrowed taxpayers' money going into the CEFC to encourage investment.

This Bill also transfers the CEFC's existing assets and liabilities to the Treasury. The Commonwealth will ensure both an orderly transition of the CEFC's investments to the Commonwealth and minimal disruption to the clean energy market so business can continue as usual.

We will of course honour all payments that are necessary as part of meeting our contractual obligations to committed investments. These obligations will be met from the CEFC's existing funding, which will be transferred to a new CEFC transitional special account.

This account will also cover the Treasury's management costs in administering the CEFC's investments. Any other liabilities relating to the CEFC will also be covered by funds from the special account.

Future monies that were due to be appropriated to the CEFC annually until 2017 will be returned to consolidated revenue. This Bill also provides for excess funding to be returned to consolidated revenue at any stage if it is no longer needed for managing the CEFC's assets and liabilities.

With this Bill the Government is delivering on its commitment to abolish the CEFC.

Debate adjourned.