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Monday, 17 August 2009
Page: 8067

Mr OAKESHOTT (9:33 PM) —I will be brief. I only want to raise concerns that I do not think this is common sense. Probably the one thing about common sense is that it is not very common, because this is the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Amendment Bill 2009 and what I have just heard from the Minister Assisting the Minister for Climate Change is that waste coalmine gas, WCMG, which is being introduced as part of this amendment, is not a renewable energy source. So here we have the title of a bill—the renewable energy amendment bill—and we have an admission that an amendment is introducing an energy source that is not renewable, yet it is going to form part of renewable energy certificates and the renewable energy target.

I ask for some confirmation. How are people such as me and members of the community, who have not been party to negotiations, not to see this as once again a browning down of legislation from the government and once again an example of the exact point I made five minutes ago as to the very need for some arms-length independence in this process? This has got to be a science based process, not a political process, and what I see here in this amendment is some sort of agreement done between both sides of this chamber with some sort of individual company or industry sector that I have certainly never heard of before. I just asked my colleague next to me and he had never heard of it before. This WCMG is a new concept that has been introduced into this chamber. Here we have a government amendment on the back end of a renewable energy amendment bill and, at the same time, we also have confirmation in the introduction of this amendment that this is not a renewable energy source. I ask the minister: what on earth is going on?