House debates

Wednesday, 2 August 2023


Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Amendment (Using New Technologies to Fight Climate Change) Bill 2023; Second Reading

7:22 pm

Photo of Andrew WillcoxAndrew Willcox (Dawson, Liberal National Party) Share this | Hansard source

Renewables are very good. Don't get me wrong. But they need to be done in the right place. But let's affirm that power because, when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine, you need to use nuclear technology, gas-fired power stations or coal-fired power stations to provide power 24/7. That's what we need to do. Don't worry about looking at the premium time for power, which is through the middle of the day, from 10 am to 2 pm. The cheapest power 24/7 is coal. So let's use it. Let's use our vast resources in this country and have a coal-fired power station—high-efficiency, low-emissions.

This agreement has led to the agreement on the development of two separate sets of amendments to the protocol—2009 and 2013, respectively. The 2009 amendments permit the international transfer of carbon dioxide streams between countries for the purpose of placing CCS or CCUS materials in a sub-seabed geological formation. The 2013 amendment, meanwhile, allows for certain waste and matter to be deposited into a marine environment in order to facilitate scientific research through marine geoengineering activities, such as ocean fertilisation.

It's very important that Australia takes part and embraces the new technologies for carbon storage. We should be at the cutting edge of this technology. Around the world, parties to the convention and/or the protocol have taken a considerable amount of time to assess their response to these amendments. It should be stressed that this has not been a reflection of widespread or deeply entrenched resistance to such changes. Instead, countries have wanted to consider all the many potential implications that affect them. Australia has also adopted this painstaking approach. It has been sensible and correct that both coalition and Labor governments have taken a considerable amount of time and care to endorse and prepare for such changes. There are many important issues at play here, including, as many environmental groups have pointed out, the need for vigilant management and regulation of activities related to CCS, CCUS and, in particular, marine geoengineering.

In truth, work continues to be needed on assessing how Australia can potentially extract the best value from each of these forms of this endeavour.

Debate interrupted.


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