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Thursday, 13 August 2009
Page: 7841

Mr IAN MACFARLANE (2:43 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Resources and Energy. I refer the minister to the clause in the emissions trading scheme bill which will require Australian coal producers who sell coal directly to Japan to pay for the emissions for the burning of that coal in Japan. Why has the minister allowed thousands of jobs in the coal industry in Queensland and New South Wales to be put at risk by this flawed piece of legislation?

The SPEAKER —I call the Minister for Resources and Energy.

Opposition members interjecting—

The SPEAKER —Order! The minister will resume his seat. I am not sure whether the member for Groom’s colleagues on my left who are interjecting wish to hear a response to the question or not.

Honourable member—Probably not.

The SPEAKER —If they are ‘probably nots’, they might voluntarily leave the chamber. The minister has the call. He will respond to the question.

Mr MARTIN FERGUSON (Minister for Resources and Energy and Minister for Tourism) —I thank the honourable member for the question. The government has been involved in detailed discussions over the last 20 months about ensuring that, as a result of the introduction of the CPRS and the renewable energy target, we ensure the competitiveness of our trade-exposed industries. Our coal industry is well placed for expansion and to seize major export opportunities not only in Japan and China but also in a range of other markets. In terms of the coal industry, there has been an engagement and there will continue to be engagement with respect to the final framework of both the CPRS and the renewable energy legislation. In the context of those discussions, we are about guaranteeing the continued competitiveness of Australian industry.

Opposition members interjecting—

Mr MARTIN FERGUSON —At least industry understands that, with respect to the government, there is something concrete to discuss and focus on. I compare that to the opposition, who had 12 years to get a low-emissions economy in place and failed to produce any practical proposal for consideration by industry.

Mr Ian Macfarlane —Mr Speaker, I seek leave to table the legislation that highlights that the direct sale of—

The SPEAKER —Order! The member for Groom will resume his seat. Leave is not granted. I call the member for Brisbane.