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Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Page: 11514

Mr ZAPPIA (Makin) (22:38): In speaking to this amendment I will confine my remarks specifically to the amendment that has been put by the Leader of the Opposition which seeks to delay the introduction of this legislation. As other members on this side have already said, the motive for delaying the introduction of this legislation is simply to ensure that the Australian people do not get to see it in operation because if they do then it will dispel much of the misinformation and the myths that have been created by members opposite when they speak about this legislation. It is absolutely in their interest to delay the introduction of the legislation because it enables them to continue to run the fear and the misinformation campaign which they have been running for the past 12 months and more.

In speaking to the amendment I raise this point: the longer we delay the introduction of any legislation to reduce the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on our climate the longer the uncertainty continues in the minds of the business people of Australia. Speakers on the other side have time and time again come in here and spoken about the concerns that business people have about this legislation. I also speak to business people around the community. It is my view that they are equally concerned and for almost five years they have not known where they stand in respect of legislation relating to carbon emissions in this country. While that uncertainty hangs over their heads, they do not know whether they should plan particular investments, they do not know what direction they should take because they simply do not know where they stand in the future when it comes to legislation on this issue. It is time, after five years, that they did know because that will enable them to plan with certainty for the future.

The member for Berowra quite rightly pointed out that the two biggest global players on this issue are China and the USA. He made the point that we should not be acting because firstly our emissions—he put them at one per cent, they are a little bit higher than that—are irrelevant to the global situation. He quoted a speech from a person whose name I do not recall who made the point that without America's and China's involvement there is no point in us doing anything. I say to the member for Berowra, firstly with respect to the USA, whilst their national government might not be acting, certainly the state of California is and the state of California is the eighth biggest economy in the world. It is not inconsequential, it is not insignificant; therefore the USA is contributing to the global response on this issue.

China is investing heavily in replacing old, inefficient coal-fired power stations and also in renewable energy sources including solar, wind and hydro. China today has the world's largest installed renewable energy electricity generation capacity. China has also in the last five years reduced its energy consumption by 19.6 per cent in terms of the per unit of GDP consumption that it produces. That is again not insignificant. Furthermore, China has pledged to lower carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 40 to 45 per cent by the year 2020 compared to 2005 levels. That is quite an ambitious target. Finally, China has a number of provinces and cities including Guangdong and Hubei and the municipalities of Tianjin, Shanghai, Beijing and Chongqing which are set to trial an emissions trading scheme in the year 2012. Those Chinese provinces represent a quarter of a billion people—that is the magnitude of the input just in that area alone.

It is my view that Australia should do its fair share in addressing this global issue. I think it is totally wrong and improper to suggest that just because we produce one per cent it is insignificant in the global scheme of things. At the very minimum we should do our share to play our part in what is truly a global problem. Quite frankly, that is all this legislation ensures that we do—play our part as responsible global citizens in addressing a global problem.