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Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Page: 6272


Mr CIOBO (Moncrieff) (13:42): by leave—I welcome the Chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics's contribution with respect to tabling this report. Indeed, it is almost equal to the total time the committee had to actually explore the bills that were before the committee. In fact, another 30 seconds or so and it would have been longer!

Liberal members of the committee that participated in the inquiry were frankly gobsmacked at this government's approach to dealing with the CEFC. Our primary concern rested with the fact that we are seeing invested $10 billion of Australian taxpayers' funds over five years, $10 billion that will be going into the CEFC, for which Liberal members of the committee were allocated just on two hours for a public inquiry. At $5 billion an hour Liberal members of the committee were astounded that the Labor Party would spend $10 billion of taxpayers' funds and in a complete aberration, completely inconsistent with their desire to so-called 'let the light in', as the Prime Minister said, they then shut down the inquiry after only two hours.

Apart from that I rise to raise a number of concerns that were evident to Liberal members of the committee as a consequence of the public hearing. Those relate to a number of comments that have been made and outlined, indeed, by the chair of the committee. These were the actual words that the chair used just now in this contribution that the CEFC will be part of an investment 'chain' supporting 'viable' projects.

It begs the question—and this is what became very evident to Liberal members of the committee—that if these projects were viable then they would be funded by the commercial sector. Make no mistake, the entire rationale of the CEFC as outlined to the committee, which we picked up upon as part of the Liberal contribution to the inquiry, was that these are not commercially viable projects because the commercial sector is not investing in them at the extent required in order to receive 100 per cent commercial support. That underscores the serious concerns that Liberal members have when we see $10 billion of taxpayers' funds being decided upon by the Labor Party to invest into projects that are not commercially viable by definition.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): Order! The member's statement is interrupted in accordance with standing order 43.