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Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Page: 6373

Mrs ELLIOT (RichmondParliamentary Secretary for Trade) (10:30): I rise today to speak about renewable energy projects in my electorate and specifically to commend the Tweed Shire Council for some of their outstanding work in this area. Recently I was very pleased to announce that the federal government was delivering $586,500 for a project called Increasing Soil Carbon in Tweed Valley Farmland. The project improves the viability and environmental capacity of the Tweed's farmlands. The three-year project proposes to implement a nutrient recycling program on 30 local farms across six industries: sugar cane, banana, vegetable, orchards, dairy and beef. Both conventional and organic methods are proposed, with the aim of increasing soil carbon whilst reducing farm greenhouse gas emissions.

The project will provide a platform to trial the production of local carbon-rich soil-amendment products by recycling local resources. The new project builds on the assistance that the council has received since 2009 from the federal Labor government's Caring for our Country program, which enabled the council to undertake a round of trials on 30 farms and which showed very promising results. This is a great achievement for our local community and I congratulate them thoroughly. They really show what can be achieved when the community works together to achieve real results.

Another great project is the Tweed Shire Council's waste facility at the Stotts Creek Resource Recovery Centre, which captures greenhouse gases including methane from the landfill site and converts the captured gas into electricity. This facility captures and burns approximately 600 tonnes of methane gas per annum, which is equivalent to 15,000 tonnes of carbon, and the electricity generated from the facility is in the order of 3,000 megawatt hours per year, which is enough to power about 400 homes. Since opening in 2006, the facility has produced 18,000 megawatt hours of electricity and captured over 11 million cubic metres of gas, about half of which has been methane. This has reduced the emissions of the facility by about half, meaning that emissions for Tweed Shire Council from this facility are well below the government's carbon threshold, and they will therefore not incur any liability. So congratulations to Tweed Shire Council for that fantastic effort. It is great to see.

What these projects show is that Tweed Shire Council is at the forefront of transitioning to a clean energy future. They certainly understand the need to be doing that, and congratulations to them for this fantastic effort. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone at Tweed Shire Council—in particular the mayor, Barry Longland. I would like to congratulate Mr David Oxenham, the director of the Community and Natural Resources section, who has really driven these projects, particularly the one at Stotts Creek. Congratulations to everyone involved on these great projects.