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Monday, 7 November 2011
Page: 8292

Senator WONG (South AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deregulation) (12:15): I will respond briefly to Senator Cormann in relation to Western Australia. I am advised that modelling undertaken for the government in the context of the Treasury modelling did look at Western Australia as well as the NEM. I am advised it did not suggest that Western Australia would be disproportionately affected relative to black coal generators in other states and that there was no reason to discriminate in Western Australian generators' favour on energy security grounds.

If the senator is concerned about energy security, the government is very focused on that, which is why the assistance has been structured in the way it has. It is true that the $5½ billion under the Energy Security Fund does target the most emissions-intensive electricity generators. I have gone through the policy rationale for that. It is important to note that the two other components of assistance under this package—the loans to emissions intensive generators who are unable to secure finance, which is the working capital point, and any other assistance recommended by the Energy Security Council, which might extend to loans or other matters—are not limited to a particular emissions intensity. Whilst the emissions intensity point is relevant in relation to the $5.5 billion, those two other components have a differential policy basis—I will just correct that: I understand that the refinancing loans do have an emissions intensity limit but not the assistance recommended by the Energy Security Council.