Wednesday, 14 September 2016
Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill 2016; Consideration in Detail
Deputy Speaker Broadbent, I defer to your wisdom about the functioning of this place. But before we go to the third reading and possibly a division, I think we need to just clear this up. I am not doubting the Treasurer that there is a more recent explanatory memorandum but—despite my best efforts just then—I was not able to get a copy to see the latest version. The version I have says quite clearly:
The government has agreed to restore funding to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) of $800 million over five years to 2021-22, and reduce by a commensurate amount the capital allocated to the Clean Energy Innovation Fund …
And it goes on. I understand from talking to the Treasurer just then that there is a more recent version of this explanatory memorandum which—I understand from the Treasurer—does not include that statement. I think it is very important that before we finalise this matter we at least get to see the latest paperwork on what is a very, very important piece of parliamentary business. At the moment, despite our very best efforts, this is what we understand to be the facts of the matter, because we have not got a more up-to-date explanatory memorandum—I see the Clerk racing in and hopefully this will clear the matter up.
Through you, Deputy Speaker, I would ask the Treasurer: if the latest version of the explanatory memorandum does not have that paragraph, that would make almost make me even more nervous—because then it will be completely unknown where that $800 million is coming from. I suppose it would probably be a reasonable assumption by honourable members, including by the member for Melbourne and me, that it is still going to come from the Clean Energy Innovation Fund; it is just that the government does not want to broadcast it in the explanatory memorandum. I will keep talking while—hopefully—the latest version makes its way to the crossbench. If that cannot happen quickly enough, Treasurer, I would ask you to explain whether or not that paragraph has indeed been removed from the latest version of the explanatory memorandum and, if indeed it has been removed, what the source of that $800 million funding to ARENA will be. Will it indeed be by commensurate reduction in the Clean Energy Innovation Fund.
Thank you, Mr Pyne—I see here in this version that we have basically just removed the reference to the Clean Energy Innovation Fund. So, after that very longwinded preamble—and I am very grateful for your patience, Deputy Speaker—my question for the Treasurer is: where will that $800 million come from? It is very simple: will it be from the Clean Energy Innovation Fund? A simple yes or no would do the job.