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Thursday, 12 December 2002
Page: 8076

Senator ALLISON (2:50 AM) —Firstly, I would like to say that I welcome the ALP's decision to back a higher target. However, this amendment has the same problem that the original bill had. We started with what we thought was two per cent, but when you do not use the right calculations to establish what the actual electricity generated by renewable sources would have to be, based on an accurate increase in consumption levels to 2010—it is not easy to work that out—you end up with much less than two per cent. That is the problem we have now. Instead of two per cent, 9,500 gigawatt hours turns out to be somewhere between 0.9 and 0.5 per cent, by the time you get to 2010. So our preference is for there to be an agreed percentage and for that percentage to move with whatever the consumption is, as we move towards 2010.

The problem with the ALP's proposal here is that this will end up being a good deal less than five per cent, as the 9,500 gigawatt hours is a good deal less than two per cent. Senator O'Brien has pointed out the figures on which this is based, but I point out that he has taken a very low level of 2.2 per cent growth per year, when, in fact, the actual load growth between 1997 and 2000 was 3.8 per cent. The higher figure of 3.5 per cent, on which our coming amendment will be based, is much closer to what is likely to be the reality for the growth in electricity consumption by 2010.

So, for that reason, Senator O'Brien, the Democrats much prefer your amendment (2), which sets an actual percentage, and I think that is achievable. Again, I congratulate you for taking this step. I do hope it is sincere. I do hope this is not just a speech that can be thrown around in this place and that, when the bill is tossed back to us by the House of Representatives, the Labor Party will give in—or worse, that you expect this to sink the bill so that you will not have to stand by this amendment. I want to indicate that the Democrats would prefer to support your amendment (2), which we look forward to.