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Thursday, 22 August 1996
Page: 2939

Senator PARER (Minister for Resources and Energy)(3.03 p.m.) —I wish to table a Department of Primary Industries and Energy portfolio evaluation for the ethanol bounty scheme and seek leave to make a short statement.

Leave granted.

Senator PARER —The evaluation was managed and coordinated by a senior officer from the Bureau of Resource Sciences, who also undertook parts of the investigation. The Bureau of Resource Sciences and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics were engaged to undertake specific elements of the investigation. The evaluation was conducted under the direction of a steering committee with representatives from the Department of Primary Industries and Energy; the Department of Finance; the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories; the Department of Industry, Science and Tourism; and the Department of Transport. The committee was chaired by the assistant secretary of the electricity task force. It met five times during the evaluation.

The recommendations in the report were unanimously agreed to by the steering committee. The committee found that, in light of the conclusions of the evaluation, the ethanol bounty scheme in its current form would not achieve its objective and should be discontinued at the current time. An important component of the evaluation was information provided by a number of key stakeholders, including representatives from industry, research groups and state and Commonwealth government agencies.