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Monday, 17 August 2009
Page: 8071

Mr COMBET (Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science and Minister Assisting the Minister for Climate Change) (9:47 PM) —In light of a couple of the observations made by the shadow minister, I think it is appropriate to put on the record a couple of things. The original construction of these arrangements—that is, the so-called coupling of the CPRS and the RET—was a consequence of what I think is an efficient public policy approach by the government; that is, it was out of respect for submissions made to the government by representatives from industries within the emissions-intensive trade-exposed sector that they believed that consistent treatment for the assistance that applies under the CPRS and the RET for those industries would be a desirable end. The matter was discussed at meeting of the Council of Australian Governments in, I think, late May this year, and it was agreed that, in the process of establishing the national renewable energy target scheme, that was an appropriate mechanism for dealing with the issue. That has been the context for the so-called coupling—against which the opposition has raised a number of objections on a number of occasions. It was suggested that that would be one of the reasons contemplated by the opposition for potentially voting against the renewable energy legislation.

In light of the decision by the opposition—a decision we believe to be irresponsible—to vote against the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in the Senate, the government reconsidered this issue and, far from it being a backdown, it is demonstration of our firm intent to address climate change by, in part, ensuring the passage of the renewable energy target legislation. That is the appropriate construction for the amendment that has been put. I have explained it in some detail and I reinforce what I said earlier, and that is that I think it is an appropriate response in the current circumstances. With those remarks, I move:

That the question be now put.

Question agreed to.

Original question agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.