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Thursday, 12 December 2002
Page: 8073

Senator BROWN (2:41 AM) —I move Greens amendment (5) on sheet 2795:

(5) Schedule 1, item 68, page 19 (lines 22 and 23), omit the item, substitute:

68 Section 40 (table)

Omit the table, substitute:

40 Required GWh of renewable source of electricity

(1) The required GWh of renewable source electricity for a year up to and including 2010 is set out in the following table:

Required GWh of renewable source electricity


Required additional GWh



















2010 and later years


(2) The regulations must prescribe the required GWh of renewable source electricity for the years 2020, 2030 and 2050 at least 10 years before each of those years and in accordance with the following table:

Required GWh of renewable source electricity after 2010


Required GWh


not less than 25% of the estimated electricity consumption in 2020


not less than 50% of the estimated electricity consumption in 2030

This is an excellent amendment and I have pleasure in moving it. It is very similar to that just put forward by Senator Allison for the Democrats, except it extends further into the future and requires that 25 per cent of estimated electricity consumption be renewable in the year 2020 and 50 per cent by 2030. Those figures are there because that is the trajectory that the world's top scientists are looking at being essential if we are going to rein in the menace of global warming.

It is very important that legislators understand the size of the commitment that is going to have to be made. Here we are looking at two per cent, but what is required is not just 50 per cent by midcentury but an 80 or 90 per cent reduction in the burning of fossil fuels and production of carbon going into the atmosphere by midcentury, and absolutely by the end of the century, if we are to avoid seeing the ice caps melting, the seas rising and the absolute destruction of the planetary living place as we know it. I know that we will get Labor opposing that. They are being very negative tonight—knocking and being negative. We will get the government doing likewise. But it is part of the positive amendment suite that the Democrats and Greens are putting forward tonight.

I want to go back to the consultant's report that the minister mentioned earlier. The consultant is saying that 10 per cent cannot be achieved. The information that both the Democrats and the Greens are getting is that 10 per cent is achievable, and that is coming from experts in the renewable energy industry. I know the minister quoted the report, but could he again answer the question: who was the scientist that informed the consultants, and therefore the minister, that 10 per cent is not achievable? Finally, he talks about this being the inappropriate place for this sort of amendment to be moved. It is exactly the right place. The matter is extremely important. This is the right place to move it and this is the right piece of legislation to be moving it in. The options are limited for the opposition and crossbenches, and this is exactly the place for us to be moving this amendment.