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Tuesday, 20 October 2015
Page: 11797

Climate Change

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:19): My question is to the Prime Minister. Does the Prime Minister agree that the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, established by Labor, has successfully driven investments in clean energy technologies and is assisting to cut emissions intensity in our economy? Does the Prime Minister accept that the Clean Energy Finance Corporation has a crucial role to play Australia's efforts to tackle climate change?

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:19): I thank the honourable member for his question. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation certainly has been making some investments in this area and, in that respect, has been assisting in supporting the reduction of emissions. It is a fair question, however, to ask whether it is necessary as an institution. Indeed, it was the government's policy to abolish it because we do not support government banks for the simple reason that new government banks are performing roles that can be perfectly adequately fulfilled by the private sector and are not necessary.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr TURNBULL: If honourable members opposite would just listen, I am giving the Leader of the Opposition a considered answer to his question. I am treating it as a polite request for information, and that is how I am answering it. We have not been able to secure any changes to or the abolition of the CEFC and, of course, it is continuing. So, yes, it has done some good work. The question is whether it is necessary or an appropriate use of government money. But it is there, it is operating, it is well run, it has a good board, it has a good chief executive. But that is really all I can say in response to the honourable member's question.

Mr Shorten: Mr Speaker, a point of order on relevance. I appreciate the Prime Minister describing it as a polite inquiry for information. It really is straightforward, Prime Minister. Are you keeping the CEFC or are you scrapping it?

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will continue answering the question he was asked.

Ms MacTiernan interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Perth is warned!

Mr TURNBULL: The final part of the opposition leader's question was: does the Clean Energy Finance Corporation play a crucial part in reducing Australia's emissions? I would say, no, it does not play a crucial part; it plays a part. It is certainly making a contribution. But the reduction of emissions across the board is contributed to by many things. When a business buys a new piece of equipment that is less energy intensive than the one it had before, it is playing its part in cutting emissions. The business of cutting emissions is quite a complex one with many contributions to it. There are no silver bullets. The CEFC has played a role. It has not been a crucial role. It is open to debate whether it is a role that the government need to play, but we recognise that we have not been able to secure the support of the Senate to abolish it and it is continuing. It is being, as far as I can see, well run within the limits of its mandate.

Mr Champion interjecting

The SPEAKER: There have been far too many interjections. I have warned a number of members. I have asked the member for Wakefield to cease interjecting. He has continued to interject. He interjected continuously through that answer. I am not going to have the member for Wakefield ignore my rulings. He can leave under standing order 94(a).