Tuesday, 2 June 2015
Renewable Energy (Electricity) Amendment Bill 2015; Consideration in Detail
I must start my contribution by expressing my disappointment at the fact that this debate has been truncated. It is a very important issue. There has been a lot of negotiation going on for a very long period of time. I would particularly like to congratulate the shadow minister. He has been vigilant in ensuring the best possible outcome can be achieved. Labor have been long-time supporters of renewable energy. Renewable energy is the energy of the future. Renewable energy is about jobs of the future. Renewable energy is about the 21st century. I welcome the fact that we finally have reached an agreement, because the indecision and the uncertainty that has surrounded the RET for such a long period of time has led to loss of confidence in the industry and loss of jobs. Australia was ranked fourth in the most attractive places to invest in renewable energy and is now ranked 10th. It is disappointing that it has taken so long to reach the point we are at night, but it is important to note that we have now and it is important that we move forward.
I support the amendment that is before the House. I disagree strongly with the previous speaker. I do not believe that it is the right way to go to include the burning of native woods. We need to have the renewable energy target without that. Just to give you an idea of how popular renewable energy is, I heard the member for Parkes speaking earlier, saying that the reason that people are using less electricity is that they are turning off their power. I disagree strongly with that. The Shortland electorate has embraced renewable energy, but not as much as other electorates have. It is the 107th out of 150 electorates. In the Shortland electorate alone, there are around 5,000 homes that have solar. I was speaking to people in a business in my electorate—a large not-for-profit organisation—and they told me that they are about to install rooftop panels and it will cost them $100,000. Going forward, they will recoup that within two years because it will reduce the cost of their electricity and any excess will go back into the grid.
Renewable energy is something that as a nation we should embrace. Australia is one of the countries in the world that is in the best position to take advantage of renewable energy. It is jobs for the future. It is a smart approach to energy and it solves a number of the problems that this parliament has grappled with over the years. I commend the amendment to the House. I support the fact that we now have finally agreed on a RET target. I look forward to it passing through both houses of parliament and look forward to the amendment being successful.