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Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Page: 5361

Senator IAN MACDONALD (11:47 AM) —We seem to be speaking in reverse order here, but Senator Boswell’s questions are very good questions and I would also like to hear the answers to them. Whilst the minister is on her feet, I wonder if she would elaborate on some issues for me. I tried to listen to the minister’s speech in reply to the second reading debate. Unfortunately I was in a meeting and only heard the second part of the speech, so I wonder if she would elaborate on whether the government is proposing to move amendments dealing with aluminium and at what stage those are at.

Also, perhaps the minister mentioned this in the first part of her speech, but I ask that she assist me by briefly outlining what the government will be doing about decoupling the renewable energy target from the ETS. Perhaps she has mentioned that, but if she has not perhaps she could respond now. I am interested in whether there will be a replication of the framework of compensation and qualification under the ETS but with a decoupling of the start date completely so as to begin on 1 January 2010, irrespective of whether the ETS legislation has been passed by then. I am also interested in whether the aluminium sector is going to face an expanded RET liability to 90 per cent and whether the government intends moving amendments on the food-processing area.

Once I get those initial responses from the minister, I also want to make some more specific inquiries—as I know Senator Boswell does. I am interested in the government’s position on gas being used as an abatement of carbon. Whilst it is not, strictly speaking, a renewable energy, it certainly will help in the abatement of greenhouse gases. I wonder if it is the government’s intention to look seriously at gas, perhaps on a smaller percentage of abatement than for renewable energies. I might perhaps explore those issues at greater length later, but I am initially interested in the minister’s intentions regarding amendments on the major issues I have raised.