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Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Page: 9369

Carbon Pricing


Senator MADIGAN (Victoria) (14:52): My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Resources and Energy, Senator Sherry. As a Union Bank of Switzerland report has stated that €210 billion has been wasted in the European carbon scheme and European electricity consumers have had to pay for this, and in the light of the South Australian Supreme Court recently upholding an appeal against the EPA's 2009 guidelines for wind development, can you advise how long the people of Australia are expected to fund these uneconomical wind turbines, which are supported by renewable energy credits?


Senator SHERRY (TasmaniaMinister Assisting on Deregulation and Public Sector Superannuation, Minister for Small Business and Minister Assisting the Minister for Tourism) (14:53): I should be the first to confess: this could be a little tricky because virtually an identical question was asked by Senator Brandis to Senator Wong.

Senator Abetz: No, wind farms.

Senator SHERRY: Virtually identical but with the wind farm addition. I want to make sure my answer in terms of UBS is consistent. On the issue of the UBS report—and I think this is consistent with Senator Wong's answer because I am looking at a similar briefing note—the vast majority of economists, the most respected economic organisations in Australia and the world, and the majority of the investment community agree that the price on carbon is the cheapest way of cutting carbon pollution. I do note that the fall in European carbon prices referred to in the UBS report has been due to the wider debt crisis in Europe and is unrelated to carbon markets. I could talk extensively about the European debt crisis and the impact on carbon marketing but I am not going to because I want to get to the issue of the wind farms. It is not correct to assert that the European Union's emission trading scheme has had no impact.

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order!

Senator SHERRY: I think my answer is totally consistent with Senator Wong's.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Sherry, ignore the interjections; address the chair.

Senator SHERRY: I do not know what the opposition is so fussed about. I am trying to answer. To get to the issue of wind farms: the Australian government does believe that wind farms have an important role to play in achieving the government's target of 20 per cent energy renewal by 2020. I believe that renewable energy target is broadly supported by all political parties in this country. (Time expired)








Senator MADIGAN (Victoria) (14:55): Mr President, I have a supplementary question. Can the minister confirm that the Waubra wind farm is yet to be signed off as a compliant operation?


Senator SHERRY (TasmaniaMinister Assisting on Deregulation and Public Sector Superannuation, Minister for Small Business and Minister Assisting the Minister for Tourism) (14:55): As I was saying, wind farms do and will continue to make an important contribution to Australia's renewable energy target.

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order!

Senator SHERRY: I am only nine seconds into the answer and you are already complaining.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Sherry, ignore the interjections. Address the chair.

Senator SHERRY: Specifically on the issue of the Waubra wind farm, I am not familiar with the wind farm or where it is located. I suspect it is in Victoria.

Senator Brandis: W-a-u-b-r-a.

Senator SHERRY: Waubra. Apologies to Waubra. I am not familiar with where it is but I am aware that the regulation and approval of wind farm developments, including such matters as noise and land use impacts, are a matter for the various relevant state and territory authorities. The government only becomes involved when matters of national environmental significance trigger the application of the EPBC Act. I have attempted to find some further detailed information— (Time expired)








Senator MADIGAN (Victoria) (14:56): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Has the federal government issued any renewable energy credits to this or any other non-compliant wind farm, and how many have been issued?


Senator SHERRY (TasmaniaMinister Assisting on Deregulation and Public Sector Superannuation, Minister for Small Business and Minister Assisting the Minister for Tourism) (14:56): As I have indicated, I have not been able to find a specific brief on this wind farm in the time available. Whether it is a proposal or an existing wind farm I am just not aware. As I have indicated, the regulation and approval of wind farm developments, including issues relating to noise and land use impacts, are a matter for relevant state and territory authorities. As to the question of whether the particular wind farm has received renewable energy certificates, I will take that on notice. As I say, I have not been able to find details in the time available. Information on renewable energy certificate creation and accredited power stations is available online at the website of the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator.