Tuesday, 27 November 2012
A few weeks ago I met with a passionate young man from my electorate, Will Bennett. Will, along with 80 other young Australians, travelled to South Australia in September for the Repower Port Augusta campaign. The group walked over 300 kilometres from Port Augusta to Adelaide. This two-week journey highlighted the campaign's proposal to develop six solar thermal plants and 95 wind turbines. Throughout the walk, the 80 Australians stopped through small towns and spoke with local farmers, business owners and many families about their views on the future of power supply for Port Augusta.
It is pleasing to see young local people across my electorate engage in such activities, and I hope that many others will follow Will's lead and speak up on issues that are important to them. Will said the walk was an amazing experience. He has been involved in a variety of campaigns over recent years highlighting the importance of environmental policies. Will said that this was the first time he felt that the outcome could directly impact on climate change. He went on to say that although the walk was physically challenging, 'It was the people we were walking with and the locals we met on the way that made that worth while.'
Climate change is something that has been at the forefront of the government's agenda. Only last week I visited a Ballarat based business, Ceramet , who received funding through the Automotive New Markets Program. That funding is enabling this automotive component manufacturer, which is increasing its employment, to diversify its developing to build a product to work with large-scale solar farms.
Just last weekend we saw the announcement by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation board of their new chief executive, Oliver Yates. The CEFC, along with the carbon price, the renewable energy target and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, will see approximately $100 billion in investment in the renewables sector over the next 40 years.
Last week we also saw the release of the International Energy Agency's in-depth review, which commended Australia for its commitment to the development of carbon capture and storage, the level of transparency in the carbon pricing mechanism, and the commitment to releasing an energy white paper every four years. Also released recently was the Major electricity generation projects November 2012 report by the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics, which showed that more than two-thirds of major electricity projects in advanced development are renewable-energy based.
I put on the record my strong support for the renewable energy target, 20 per cent of electricity supply coming from renewable energy by 2020. I know that the final report of the review is due with the government by the end of the year, and there was significant interest and contribution when the initial discussion paper was released back in October. I reiterate my support for it. I think the renewable energy target alongside the carbon price, the work of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency are all needed together to tackle the issue of climate change.