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Wednesday, 19 March 2008
Page: 1230

Senator CARR (Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research) (10:39 AM) —I would draw your attention once again to clause 5(1)(d), which goes to the issue of the functions of Infrastructure Australia. Clause 5(1)(d) says that one of the functions is to provide advice on the options and reforms, including regulatory reforms, to make the utilisation of national infrastructure networks more efficient. The minister who is responsible for this legislation has indicated on numerous occasions the intention of the government to consider the issue of alternative urban transport options and that that is a provision of the government’s program. That is a clear, unequivocal commitment.

In terms of the amendment, I have outlined on numerous occasions that the amendment does not add any value to the legislation, because the way that the bill is written ensures that the new agency will conform with the government’s broader approaches to climate change. To ensure that there is a focus to that attention, the existing functions in the bill allow for Infrastructure Australia to provide advice on infrastructure policies arising from climate change. That is broader than the proposed amendment. You are in fact weakening the provisions of the bill by this amendment. I might suggest that that is a reason in itself to oppose this amendment.