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Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Page: 6377


Mr OAKESHOTT (Lyne) (10:41): To pick up on some comments from a previous speaker about the Square Kilometre Array, I want to put on record that that is one of the most significant things to happen in Australian public policy in the last couple of weeks. I was recently at Coonabarabran at the Siding Springs facility meeting with a fascinating man, Rod McNaught, who has a comet named after him. There will be a lot of excitement about the reinvestment in astronomy generally in Australia and, hopefully, we can contribute to answering some of those mind-blowing questions such as: what is dark matter, and the place of earth in the universe? So, the Square Kilometre Array project is significant and will make a difference.

That is not the reason for getting to my feet. My reason is to promote a clean energy forum on 14 June in Port Macquarie. I am one who does believe the science and the economics in regard to the most appropriate response to the science. As well, I am one who in politics at both the 2008 and 2010 elections was an advocate for emissions trading schemes and said that I would work for them. I am pleased that we are finally at the point of now having one delivered in Australia.

On 14 June the public forum in Port Macquarie, which is free, will have Nathan Fabian from the Investor Group on Climate Change attending. That is significant. Nathan leads an investor group that, all up internationally, has about $1 trillion under investment in emissions trading schemes. That is a fair amount of money, and he is now looking in Australia for opportunities via an emissions trading scheme being developed. Locally there are co-benefits that come with this policy and trying to access not only some of that $1 trillion under investment around the world but also the co-benefits. For example, through the recent biodiversity funding round the local Port Macquarie-Hastings Council got a three-quarters of a million dollar grant through. As well, there are business opportunities that now come through the risk reward model of the trading scheme. There are a range of opportunities for natural resource managers, for business and for a bit more understanding throughout the community as to what this policy is, why it is happening and why we in Australian public policy are investing in science and are investing in economics to achieve what is a sensible policy for the long term with plenty of opportunities for local communities such as Port Macquarie.