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Notice given 4 March 2008

344  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Resources and Energy—Given: (a) the announcement of the then Minister for the Environment and Water Resources on 20 February 2007 that conventional, incandescent light bulbs are to be phased out over the next 3 years and replaced with energy-saving globes; (b) the release of a discussion paper on 17 December 2007 on the proposed phase-out of incandescent bulbs and a minimum energy standard of 15 lumens per watt by 2010 and 20 lumens per watt by 2013; (c) that market-proven compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) represent more than 15 per cent of the market share, with sales increasing rapidly and exponentially; (d) that CFLs are typically 60 lumens per watt, which is four times more efficient than the cut-off threshold proposed in the discussion paper; (e) that the additional benefits of high efficiency lighting are the energy savings and longer lifetime; and (f) that compared to incandescent lamps, high efficiency lighting saves in the order of $50 to $100 over its lifetime, has, on average, a 3 year payback and delivers a very competitive greenhouse abatement cost of $3 per tonne:


 (1) What policy options, other than the Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS), were considered.

(2) Was a simplified energy label, supported by government promotion of high efficiency lighting solutions or rebates for efficient lamps, considered.

(3) What role did industry play in forming this standard.

(4) Given that setting a higher MEPS level and faster timetable or faster MEPS would be consistent with the Minister’s policy objectives, why is a lower and slower MEPS being implemented.

348  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister for Climate Change and Water ( transferred to the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts on 26 March 2008 )— Given that: (a) the transport and stationary energy sectors are the largest greenhouse emitting sectors in Australia; (b) the stationary energy and other sectors have much less capacity for reductions than the transport sector; (c) motor vehicles are responsible for approximately 80 per cent of transport emissions, with public transport responsible for 3 per cent; (d) with oil approaching $US100 a barrel, demand for mass transport has risen by 20 per cent since the beginning of 2007 and is likely to rise another 10 per cent in 2008:

(1) What plan is in place to achieve cuts from the transport sector by 2010.

(2) What strategic direction has been provided to state governments in line with stated greenhouse emission cuts.

(3) What strategic direction and actions are being taken to develop alternative fuels.

(4) What plans are there to abolish tax concessions and subsidies for road transport.

353  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts ( transferred to the Minister for Climate Change and Water on 5 March 2008 )—

(1) With reference to media reports that, since the commencement of Murray Darling Basin permanent water allocation trading, the cost of permanent water allocations has risen by 2 000 per cent over the past 2 years, what is the trend and the cost increase since the commencement of water trading.

(2) Acknowledging that trading occurs within the confines of the basin cap, to what extent is water trading increasing or decreasing the demand on the river relative to the cap.

(3) What is the incidence of ‘sleeper’ water allocations (that is, water allocations that have been inactive or underutilised coming to market), water theft, evaporation and other losses that increase the demand on the river and that have otherwise not been accounted for.

(4) What compliance measures are being considered to enforce allocations or adjust for unanticipated losses.

(5) (a) Has there been any purchase of permanent water allocations for the environment; (b) what has been the level of these purchases; (c) have they been purchased from the market; (d) were they purchased from willing sellers; and (e) how is it ascertained that these sellers were willing.

(6) What is the trend of water allocations being traded from grazing, farming or horticultural enterprises to managed investment schemes.

(7) What level of trading is occurring between districts or between states.

(8) What coordination is there between state governments.


 (9) What is the level of participation of non-water users (speculative investors, state governments or others) within the market.

(10) What level of regulation applies to the water market.

(11) What review has been undertaken of the workings of the water market.

(12) Has there been any analysis of the financial impact, including the ability to pass on costs to end users by farming type (for example, graziers, dairy farmers, horticulturists).

(13) (a) What assistance to farmers and communities experiencing hardship due to water price increases, reduced water allocations of a loss of productive farming capacity is being progressed; and (b) could this include interest rate relief, income support and/or walk-off and adjustment packages.

(14) What partnership programs, between government and farmers, exist for the transition to lower water use practices, infrastructure improvement or other drought-proofing activities.

(15) If it is commonplace for markets, such as the energy market, to be regulated or administered, has the appointment of a regulator of the water market with responsibility to administer, oversee and intervene in the market to achieve economic and community, social and environmental outcomes and with the power to suspend or restrict trading, prevent profiteering or speculation by non-water users, determine carryover, water banking provisions and emergency water supply measures and make all decisions transparent and in full consultation with state governments and stakeholders been considered.