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PM's answer on ethanol decision misleading: Windsor.

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For further information contact Tony Windsor, Ph (02) 6761 3080 or 0427 668868

29 March 2004

PM’s answer on ethanol decision misleading - Windsor

Independent Member for New England, Tony Windsor, believes that the Prime Minister’s answer to his question today about the passage of the Energy Grants (Cleaner Fuels) Schemes Bill was misleading.

Mr Windsor’s question to the Prime Minister was:

“The Prime Minister would be aware that proponents of the ethanol industry require passage of the Energy Grants (Cleaner Fuels) Schemes Bill, in line with the Australian Democrats amendments in the Senate to be able to proceed with their projects with some degree of certainty and confidence about the future.

Given that $300 million worth of private sector investment is on hold in northern NSW and Southern Queensland alone, when will the Government make a decision on this critical piece of legislation?”

The Prime Minister’s reply was:

“Could I say, with respect, to the Member for New England: the hold-up has not been us; it has been others. We are as desirous as anybody of having certainty. Let me say to the Member for New England: we are desirous of having certainty, but people who have, in the name of politics, delayed this belong in other parties than the Liberal and National Parties.”

“The Prime Minister’s answer in the Parliament today regarding ethanol was not true.

The Prime Minister is well aware that the passage of the Australian Democrats amendments only requires the support of the Government and the cross benchers in the Senate. The Cross bench Senators have indicated that they are supportive of the amendments.

It is therefore misleading for the Prime Minister to suggest that the Legislation does not have the numbers to put in place legislation that will create massive private sector investment.

It is the Government’s lack of action that is the speed bump in the process,” Mr Windsor said.




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