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Monday, 7 November 2011
Page: 8280

Senator WONG (South AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deregulation) (11:22): I am being asked to respond to a hypothetical if. We are not here to debate hypotheticals; we are here to debate the package. I have explained that the indepen­dent modellers on this issue, which we used as part of the Treasury modelling, did not anticipate a reduction in forward contracting. I have also explained that the advice of financial institutions is that such products would be available. I have explained that if the market did not work as anticipated the government has made clear it will provide loans for market participants to address these working capital constraints that have been asserted. I have also explained that we are providing $5½ billion under the Energy Security Fund.

I have also explained on a number of occasions now that if the opposition do care about uncertainty in the market, which is an issue that goes against forward contracting and management of risk through the longer term, then they would not be opposing this and they would not be suggesting that they have some blood oath to rescind it. That of itself puts uncertainty into the market and would therefore add to the very policy risks that the senator has referred to.