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Wednesday, 2 November 2011
Page: 12619

Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (12:22): I rise to support the Australian Renewable Energy Agency Bill 2011 and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2011. I am very pleased to support these bills as they are part of a very important step towards our clean energy future. This Labor government has already done significant heavy lifting when it comes to renewable energy. In 2009, we introduced the Renewable Energy Target of 20 per cent which provides a cross-subsidy to the renewable energy sector. Already the renewable energy target has led to $8 billion of total investment in renewable energy.

This government has started the hard work of transitioning our country to a clean energy future. These bills before the House today take it another step by bringing together and consolidating a number of different programs administered by a number of different agencies under an independent body named ARENA. ARENA will manage the $32 billion in renewable energy investment to promote research and development, demonstration, commercialisation and deployment of renewable energy projects to improve the sector's competitiveness.

This will be incredibly important as this country harnesses the opportunities that a clean energy future provides. Renewable energy technologies not only provide the opportunity for our country to reduce our carbon emissions but also provide the opportunity to invest and innovate and to support industries which can deliver to the rest of the world. This is a really exciting opportunity that a number of businesses in my electorate are taking up. In particular, I want to say that there will be a real opportunity through the Tonsley Park redevelopment that will benefit significantly from this transition to a clean energy future. Most people would remember the old Mitsubishi site. I know you are very familiar with it, Deputy Speaker Georganas. Unfortunately, Mitsubishi decided to pull out of that site and no longer manufactures cars in South Australia. While this was very disappointing for the local area and for a lot of workers, it has presented an opportunity that the state government has taken up. The state government has bought the site, which is very large, and has a vision that it will be a hub of innovative companies and sustainable technologies, including clean tech and environmental industries, along with the associated advanced manufacturing. It will integrate industry, education, training, research and community amenities. This is a very uniquely positioned site which sits between Science Park and Flinders University, and the state government is also looking to build a TAFE to teach young people—and older people as well—skills in this new industry for the future.

So I believe that our clean energy future will provide a lot of opportunities. This bill is part of this. I saw today that the opposition has agreed to support this bill. I am not sure what happened to their 'we will repeal the clean energy future'—obviously step by step. They are backing down on that, and I have no doubt that in the future we will continue to see a backdown from the opposition. We believe in going forward with this, ensuring that we do have a clean energy future. My electorate, in sites like Tonsley, is really set to benefit in this emerging industry that I think will create a lot of jobs and a lot of innovation.