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Thursday, 8 February 2007
Page: 8


Mr BROADBENT (3:02 PM) —My question is addressed to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources. Would the minister update the House on government initiatives to lower Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions in ways that will protect jobs in Australia’s traditional industries, including in my electorate of McMillan?

Opposition members interjecting—


Mr IAN MACFARLANE (Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources) —I thank the member for McMillan for his question and for his strong interest in preserving jobs in the coal and power industry in the regions around him and particularly those of the workers he represents in the seat of McMillan. I stand shoulder to shoulder with you to preserve their jobs. Those on this side of the House have long recognised that there is no one silver bullet solution to lowering greenhouse gas emissions. That is why we are investing in a portfolio of practical measures that respond directly to climate change challenges—


Ms Bird interjecting


The SPEAKER —The member for Cunningham is warned!


Mr IAN MACFARLANE —without sacrificing the competitive advantage on which our economy in Australia is built. These are measures like the $100 million Renewable Energy Development Initiative, known as REDI; our $75 million Solar Cities initiative; and our $500 million Low Emissions Technology Demonstration Fund, which saw $50 million allocated to a power station in the minister for agriculture’s electorate, close to the member for McMillan’s electorate, to help the power industry in that region lower its emissions and maintain its electricity output. These programs were all defined in this white paper I am holding, which the Prime Minister released in June 2004. The Leader of the Opposition might like to read it.

These are practical measures that bring a range of low-emission technologies into our energy mix, whether they be clean coal or renewable. The white paper does mention nuclear power. As we know, since that paper was released we have progressed to a point where we need to consider nuclear power. This is about not putting all our eggs in one technology basket.

In response to the recent report of the Energy Supply Association, can I say that they have demonstrated in their report why this is so important. They say in their report that the narrower the range of energy technologies used the greater the cost will be to achieve emissions cuts. The report forecasts a 65 per cent increase in electricity demand by 2030. The report also says that meeting that demand while cutting emissions will cost billions. The report goes on to say that if nuclear energy is excluded from the mix it will cost billions more. It just goes to show how serious and credible climate change responses require all possible options to be considered, including nuclear.

We know that the members for Hunter and Batman—

A government member—And the member for Grayndler


Mr IAN MACFARLANE —have different views from those of the member for Kingsford Smith—and, yes, so does the member for Grayndler. They even have different views on uranium—and some of them do not mind if that costs jobs, as we heard from the Prime Minister. The Labor Party cannot face—


Mr Jenkins interjecting


The SPEAKER —Order! The member for Scullin will come to order.


Mr IAN MACFARLANE —the hard political decision because they are split on the issue. The Howard government has a record of making hard decisions—

Opposition members interjecting—


The SPEAKER —Order! The minister has the call.


Mr IAN MACFARLANE —to ensure the future of Australia’s economy and Australia’s energy security.