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Monday, 7 November 2011
Page: 8293

Senator WONG (South AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deregulation) (12:22): Senator Cormann is not a stupid man, so he would recall that on a number of occasions he has asked me about generator X or generator Y and I have said that it would not be appropriate for a minister, in relation to a policy area where there is a package before the Senate, to get into details of individual recipients of assistance. What is appropriate is for me to outline, as I have done, the basis on which assistance is provided, the basis on which assistance is disbursed between different players in the sector and the policy rationale for that. I have done so and I will continue to do that. But, as I explained to him when he asked the first question, I do not think it is sensible, helpful or appropriate, frankly, for ministers to say company X will get this amount of money.

We have before the chamber a package which includes three components of assistance in relation to energy security. I have gone through those. I have explained to you why $5.5 billion is allocated on the emissions intensity basis and other bases and the reason for that, which is energy security. I have explained to you the additional assistance in terms of the provision of loans. That is referenced at paragraph 6.193. I am happy to read that onto the record for him if he would like, but it is in the explanatory memorandum. I have explained that in addition there is a backstop mechanism whereby the Energy Security Council can recommend additional measures if required for energy security. I reference my previous answers, because I have gone through the policy rationale for why emissions intensity has been used as the basis on which the $5.5 billion is to be disbursed amongst—

Senator Cormann: Why? You've said it was based on expert advice.

Senator WONG: Because we believe it is the most sensible way to ensure energy security and the most reasonable—

Senator Cormann: Why?

Senator WONG: Senator, that is the advice to government. That is the policy proposition. What I am not going to do here is to go through individual companies and say precisely how much any company will get under an arrangement that is not yet in place. The EM goes through a lot of detail about how this is to be allocated between generators, up to the amount of $5.5 billion.